In 1939, Charles A. Moore convened the first East-West Philosophers' Conference. The conference was concerned to explore the significance of Eastern ways of thinking for Western thought and the possibility of the development of a world philosophy through a synthesis of ideas and ideals of East and West.
In the summer of 1949, a second East-West Philosophers' Conference was convened to carry forward the work of the first.
The Third East-West Philosophers' Conference held in 1959 was an experiment in applied philosophy dealing primarily with social thought and action. The theme was "East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective.
The Fourth East-West Philosophers' Conference, under the continuing directorship of Charles A. Moore, was held in 1964. The conference was funded through the leadership of Dr. Hung Wo Ching, a distinguished local businessman. The theme of this conference was "The World and the Individual in East and West" with a clarifying subtitle, "The Status of the Individual in Reality, Thought and Culture in East and West."
In 1969, under the directorship of Visiting Professor Abraham Kaplan, the Fifth East-West Philosophers' Conference was convened on the theme, "The Alienation of Man.
From 1968 to 1974, a series of smaller conferences of an East-West nature were held that were devoted to specialized themes. A symposium on "Aesthetics East and West: The Nature and Function of Symbolism in Eastern and Western Art" was held in December 1968. In 1969, a conference was organized to honor the philosopher Martin Heidegger on the occasion of his 80th birthday and to explore the relations between Heidegger's thought and various aspects of Eastern philosophical traditions.
In March 197l, a conference was held on "Law and Morality: East and West."
In 1972, a conference on "Wang Yang-ming: A Comparative Study" was held, marking the occasion of the Fifth Birth-Centenary of this major neo-Confucian philosopher.
In 1973, a conference on "The Development of Logic: East and West" was held exploring the questions of the possible universality of logical systems; the relation of language to logic; and the role of logic in philosophy in general.
In 1974, with the cooperation of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont University, a conference on Mahayana Buddhism and Whitehead was held.
The proceedings from these smaller conferences, under the directorship of Eliot Deutsch, have been published in special issues of Philosophy East and West.
In 1978, a conference chaired by Lenn E. Goodman was also held on "The Contemporary Significance of Confucian Philosophy."
In 1982, the Department cooperated in the sponsoring of a conference on Chu Hsi [Zhu Xi] which was directed by Wing-tsit Chan. A major volume published by the University of Hawaii Press resulted from the Conference.
The Department has also acted as host for meetings of various national and international societies. In the summer of 1984, upon the conclusion of the NEH Summer Institute, the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy held its first International Research Conference in Honolulu. Approximately 200 scholars participated in this conference on the theme, "Interpreting Across Boundaries." A conference volume entitled Interpreting Across Boundaries: New Essays in Comparative Philosophy was published by Princeton University Press.
The Sixth East-West Philosophers' Conference directed by Eliot Deutsch was held in Hawaii July 30 - August 12, 1989, on the general theme "Culture and Modernity." Approximately 130 philosophers from over 30 countries participated, including many of the leading philosophers from the West (Rorty, Putnam, Danto, MacIntyre, Wollheim, Heller, Stojanovic) and from Asian countries (Jiang, Chan, Matilal, Krishna, Sakabe).
The Seventh East West Philosophers' Conference was held in January 1995. The conference, on the theme, "Justice and Democracy: A Philosophical Exploration," was directed by Marietta Stepaniants from the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was attended by approximately 135 philosophers from countries throughout the world.
The Eighth East West Philosophers' Conference, co-directed by Roger T. Ames and Marietta Stepaniants, on the theme of Technology and Cultural Values was held at the East-West Center in January 2000. The conference explored the tension -- sometimes productive tension -- between efficient technologies and emergent values.
The Ninth East West Philosophers' Conference convened in May 2005 to discuss "Educations and Their Purposes: A Philosophical Dialogue Among Cultures." It was directed by Roger T. Ames.