Along my DPhil project, I am currently working on the following three papers:
-- Reflections on the use of Conceptual Metaphor Theory in Classical Chinese Texts
This methodological paper questions the suitability of applying the theory of conceptual metaphor onto Chinese texts. I argue for the use of a properly re-qualified approach which takes into consideration the distinctiveness of Chinese attitudes towards metaphorical language.
-- Daoist Language and Thought in Sengzhao's Philosophy of Language
In this paper, I aim to tackle the broad question of the acculturation of Buddhism in China by exploring Sengzhao's (僧肇) relationship with Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Obscure Learning (玄學). The perspective and focus of the paper is on Sengzhao's philosophy of language. Specifically, the paper is divided into three sections: first, from an ontological perspective, the paper explores Sengzhao's theory on the non- correspondence between language and world tying it on the one hand to the idea of emptiness and on the other exploring the similarities with the Daoist and Obscure Learning thinkers. Second, from an epistemological perspective, the paper traces Sengzhao's theory on the limitations of language linking it with prajňa along with elements within pre-Buddhist Chinese philosophy. Last, from an ethical perspective, the paper presents Sengzhao's resuscitation of the use of language – an acknowledgement of its inherent necessity in mediating the relationship between sages and common people – and drawing from Zhuangzi's theory of 'no-language language' and 'mad language' aims to explain the mechanics of Sengzhao's new conception of language. The paper uses a variety of primary and secondary sources, ranging from original texts, scholastic commentaries of the Chinese Buddhist tradition, as well as contemporary scholarship in both English and Chinese. The aim of this paper is to present Sengzhao's thought as a holistic system unifying two distinct yet similar traditions. (This project is based on my Master's Thesis from Peking University and constitutes a continuation and refinement of the arguments thereof; forward copy available in Chinese).
-- Sengzhao and Madhyamaka Weak Philosophical Deflationism
The goal of this paper is to argue for a reading of Sengzhao's primary work, the Zhaolun (肇論), that places it within a meta- and non-philosophical evaluation of philosophical thinking i.e. of weak philosophical deflationism. In other words, it tries to show that the Weak Philosophical Deflationist interpretive framework that can be used to account for Nāgārjuna's concerns in the Mūlamadhyamakārikā and the Vigrahavyāvartanī can be used to understand the Zhaolun. The aim of this paper is thus on the one hand to expose the links within Buddhism across time and space and at the same time provide further support to the original interpretation of Madhyamaka.
I am currently organising two academic conferences:
-- "Engaging 'China': Perspectives from the Margins"; Second Annual University of Oxford China Humanities Graduate Conference; 10-11 January 2018 held at the China Centre, University of Oxford. Co-organised with Min Yeo and Frances O'Morchoe.
-- "Materiality of Knowledge in Chinese Thought, Past and Present"; 19-21 September 2018 held at The Queen's College, University of Oxford. Co-oragnised with Dirk Meyer.
As a member of the Translating China initiative (led by Roger Ames), I am currently translating the following:
-- Three Chapters from Yang Guorong's book Politics, Theory, and Beyond [Zhrengzhi, lunli ji qita 政治、伦理及其他].
Yang Guorong 楊國榮, “Future Steps in the Humanities.” Translated from Renwen yanjiu de jinlu [人文研究的进].
Yang Guorong 楊國榮,“The Cognitive Orientation of Chinese Culture.” Translated from Zhongguo wenhua de renzhi quxiang [中国文化的认知取向].
Yang Guorong 楊國榮, “How to do Philosophy? ”Translated from Ruhe zuo zhexue [如何做哲学].