CHEN Ta Tsi
Doctor of Letters
Seventy-four years ago, as years are reckoned in the West, a boy was born in the Chekiang province of China, linked in ancestry across the span of two centuries with Chen Yuan Lung, a famous Prime Minister and scholar of the Ch'ing dynasty. His name was Chen Ta Tsi; his destiny, to add to knowledge in the tradition of the pure scholarship for which China is renowned. His intellect was nurtured in the College of Foreign Languages in Shanghai, and subsequently in the Imperial University of Tokyo where he studied philosophy, psychology, and logic. After further study in Germany, he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the National Peking University in 1914, a postwhich he held for the following sixteen years. During this time our present Lecturer in Chinese Philosophy, Mr Mou Tsung San, was one of his pupils, and in acting for a time as President of the University, he was the predecessor of Dr Hu Shih, who received our honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1935. He left university life to become Chief Secretary of the Yuan for Examining and Grading Government officers and as the elected President of the Confucius and Mencius Society.
Being of a modest and retiring disposition, he has been inclined to avoid social life and devote himself to study, allowing his duties as teacher or examiner to intervene no more than necessary. He is the author of numerous important publications; while at the National Peking University he wrote The Principles of Psychology, An Outline of Philosophy and Psychology and Superstition, which were all well received by scholars. Impressed with the close connexion between Indian and Chinese logic, he has written a book to elucidate an obscure work on logic brought from India by the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Hsiian-tsang, in the seventh century. More recently, in Taiwan, he has produced a book on Indian Logic, another on Practical Logic, collections of essays on logic and Confucianism, and a book on the philosophical theories of the early Confucian philosopher, Hsiin Tzu.
Mr Chancellor, if we may, for a moment, lapse into the style of Peking's earlier days, and regard you, on this Ninth Day of the Eighth Moon in the Year of the Cow, as the Controller of Unsolicited Degrees, it is this otherwise uninteresting and obtrusive Orator's graceful duty to convey to you the agreaable intelligence that this University of insignificant age wishes you to signify its esteem and veneration of the scholar Chen Ta-tsi by conferring upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.
Citation written and delivered by Professor D Barker, MA, DPhil, the Public Orator of the University.