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  • Remembering Vincent Shen
  • Mingran Tan (bio)

Our inspiring mentor, Vincent Shen (Shen Qingsong 沈清松), who served as Lee Chair Professor in Chinese Thought and Culture at the University of Toronto, passed away on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at age sixty-nine. Professor Shen joined the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Toronto in 2000 and was Department Chair from 2007 to 2010. He held joint appointments in Philosophy and Religious Studies. A specialist in Chinese Philosophy and Comparative Philosophy, he was a prolific writer and a highly regarded scholar of East Asian studies, and his reputation earned him the position of Vice President of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.

Professor Shen graduated from the Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei. He completed his postgraduate studies and received a doctorate in 1980 at the Institut Supérieur de Philosophie, Université Catholique de Louvain. He taught philosophy at National Chengchi University in Taipei for twenty years before he moved to the University of Toronto in 2000. In addition to his position at the University of Toronto, he held distinguished visiting professorships at many European universities. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (1985); he held the Verbiest Chair, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (1986); he lectured at the Institute of Theory and Social Studies of Science, University of Vienna (1993) and in the Institute of Psychology, University of Vienna (1996); and he held the European Chair of Chinese Studies at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden University (1998–1999). More recently, he was a visiting professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna (2008).

Professor Shen's interests spanned Chinese philosophy, phenomenology, and the philosophical problems of technology, culture, and religion. He was especially known for his holistic philosophical vision, which was centered on the comparison of Western and Eastern philosophical traditions. His methodological approach encouraged interdisciplinary dialogue and the crossfertilization of diverse philosophical perspectives. His academic vocation was deeply motivated by a sense of philosophical humanism, aimed at addressing contemporary social and global problems. He authored more than twenty-nine books, including Disenchantment of the World: Impact of Science and Technology on Culture (1984); [End Page 313]

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Vincent Shen, 1949–2018.

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Technology, Humanities and Cultural Development (Keji, renwen yu wenhua fazhan 科技、人文與文化發展) (2014); Matteo Ricci to Heidegger: An Intercultural View of Chinese-Western Philosophical Interaction (Cong Li Madou dao Heidege: Kuawenhua mailuo xia de Zhong-Xi zhexue hudong從利瑪竇到海德格: 跨文化脈絡下的中西哲學 互動) (2014); Renovate Confucianism by Returning to its Roots(Fanben kaixin lun Ruxue 返本開新論儒學) (2017); and Scholastic Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy(Shilin zhexue yu Zhongguo zhexue士林哲學與中國哲學) (2018). He edited some sixteen books, including Wisdom in China and the West (2004); Confucian Ethics: Retrospect and Prospect (2007); and the Dao Companion to Classical Confucian Philosophy (2013). He published over 150 papers, some of which have been translated into German, French, and Vietnamese.

Professor Shen will be remembered by his students and his colleagues as a devoted educator whose guidance, love for our discipline, and unstinting support have been sources of inspiration for his students, many of them now accomplished academics who continue along his path. [End Page 315]

Mingran Tan

School of Philosophy and Social Development, Shandong University



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