Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Honors
Office: The Maples 211
B.A. Peking University
M.A. Peking University
Ph.D. Indiana University Bloomington
Hao Hong is an Assistant Professor of philosophy and CLAS-Honors Preceptor of Philosophy, a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the Honors College at the University of Maine.
Research Interests: My primary research areas are metaphysics, Chinese philosophy, and comparative philosophy. My current research interest is centered around Ludwig Wittgenstein’s famous claim, “The world is the totality of facts, not of things.” (Tractatus 1.1) By drawing theoretical resources from contemporary analytic philosophy and ancient Chinese philosophy, I try to answer the following questions: What is a fact as opposed to a thing? What are the best reasons for us to accept a world of facts rather than a world of things? How do our representations of portions of reality affect our understanding of the fundamental structure of the world?
Why I Teach in Honors: To me, what defines Honors is the liberal arts environment: discussion-based classrooms, small class sizes, writing intensive courses, and community-engaged experience. This kind of environment is crucial to the cultivation of a good person and a good citizen. In front of the moral, social, and political issues in today’s society, we are always encouraged to share our thoughts with others and listen to other people’s voices, and we are constantly reminded of the importance of having civil and constructive conversations on the basis of mutual respect. However, having constructive conversations is not something that we learn from books nor something that we can do well merely by emphasizing its importance. Rather, it is a skill, a skill that has to be grasped through repeated practices. I believe that the liberal arts environment in Honors is the best “practice field” for having constructive conversations on important issues in our society. My ideal classroom in Honors is inclusive, where students share their thoughts and perspectives without feeling being judged; it is respectful, where people’s lived experience and opinions are recognized and valued; it is critical, where students are not afraid of disagreeing with, challenging, and pushing each other for the purpose of finding the best answers to important questions. Meanwhile, my ideal classroom is tolerant. We learn things that we do not know, and we practice skills that we do not grasp perfectly. Mistakes are not only inevitable in this learning process but also create opportunities for us to improve. Tolerance gives us the courage to expose our potential mistakes and learn from them.
Other Honors Involvement: I recently gave two lectures on Confucianism and Daoism respectively.
- “A Challenge to the New Metaphysics: deRosset, Priority, and Explanation,” (with David Fisher and Timothy Perrine) Synthese. Forthcoming.
- “The Metaphysics of Dao in WANG Bi’s Interpretation of Laozi,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, Vol. 18, Issue 2, 2019.