Stephen C.	Angle

Stephen C. Angle

Philosopher; 2016-17 Berggruen Fellow at Tsinghua University


Stephen C. Angle is Director of the Fries Center for Global Studies, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, and Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University. Angle specializes in Chinese Philosophy, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism, and comparative philosophy, and his research focuses on philosophy’s role in human rights, politics, and ethics both in China and globally. He has co-directed two NEH Summer Institutes: one on Confucianism and Human Rights (with Michael Slote), the other on “Reviving Philosophy as a Way of Life,” with Meghan Sullivan and Stephen Grimm. Angle is a recipient of two Fulbright grants, a Berggruen Fellowship, a Millicent C. McIntosh Fellowship, a Chiang Ching-Kuo Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He is also a past President of the International Society for Comparative Study of Chinese and Western Philosophy. Angle is the author of Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry (2002; Chinese edition, 2012), Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy (2009; Chinese edition, 2017), Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism (2012; Chinese edition, 2015), co-author (with Justin Tiwald) of Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction (2017), and co-editor of two other volumes. Many of his books and articles have been published in Chinese translation under his Chinese name, 安靖如. His blog on Chinese and comparative philosophy is <>. Angle’s current research focuses on contemporary Confucian philosophy and on Confucianism as a way of life.

composed by Arswain
machine learning consultation by Anna Tskhovrebov
commissioned by the Berggruen Institute
premiered at the Bradbury Building
downtown Los Angeles
april 22, 2022

Human perception of what sounds “beautiful” is necessarily biased and exclusive. If we are to truly expand our hearing apparatus, and thus our notion of beauty, we must not only shed preconceived sonic associations but also invite creative participation from beings non-human and non-living. We must also begin to cede creative control away from ourselves and toward such beings by encouraging them to exercise their own standards of beauty and collaborate with each other.

Movement I: Alarm Call
‘Alarm Call’ is a long-form composition and sound collage that juxtaposes, combines, and manipulates alarm calls from various human, non-human, and non-living beings. Evolutionary biologists understand the alarm call to be an altruistic behavior between species, who, by warning others of danger, place themselves by instinct in a broader system of belonging. The piece poses the question: how might we hear better to broaden and enhance our sense of belonging in the universe? Might we behave more altruistically if we better heed the calls of – and call out to – non-human beings?

Using granular synthesis, biofeedback, and algorithmic modulation, I fold the human alarm call – the siren – into non-human alarm calls, generating novel “inter-being” sonic collaborations with increasing sophistication and complexity. 

Movement II: A.I.-Truism
A synthesizer piece co-written with an AI in the style of Vangelis’s Blade Runner score, to pay homage to the space of the Bradbury Building.

Movement III: Alarmism
A machine learning model “learns” A.I.Truism and recreates Alarm Call, generating an original fusion of the two.

Movement IV: A.I. Call
A machine learning model “learns” Alarm Call and recreates A.I.Truism, generating an original fusion of the two.