University of Calgary

Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture

Submitted by brele on Thu, 2017-01-05 09:55.
2017-03-09 19:30 - 20:30

Leslie S. Kawamura Memorial Lecture

Emptiness and Violence: An Unexpected Encounter of Nāgārjuna with Derrida and Levinas

Chen-kuo Lin (National Chengchi University)

Location: Gallery Hall, TFDL

In this talk I will deal with the seeming contradiction between the ideas of emptiness and violence. The question: how is the issue of violence accounted for in terms of the philosophy of emptiness? The first step of investigation is to look into how violence is told in the hagiographical narratives about the murders of Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, and Kamalaśīla in the Mādhyamika Buddhist tradition. Then I will try to see how violence is tacitly treated in Mādhyamika philosophy, while Levinas and Derrida will be taken as the interlocutors to bring to the surface some hidden insights. The reason why I place Nāgārjuna and Levinas/Derrida together is that all of them show their distrust to metaphysics of the same. They all try to find the exit, the opening space, by which the oppression in metaphysics of identity can be hopefully overcome.


Chen-kuo Lin 林鎮國 is a Distinguished Professor in both the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Institute of Religious Studies at National Chengchi University. He earned Ph.D. from Temple University in 1991. His research interest includes Buddhist philosophy (Buddhist logic and epistemology, Mādhyamika, Yogācāra), Chinese philosophy (Neo-Confucianism, Daoism), and comparative philosophy. Currently he is conducting two research projects, “Cognition and Mind: A Study and Annotated Translation of Huizhao’s Treatise on Two Means of Valid Cognition” and “The Encounter of Chinese Buddhists with Indian Yogācāra Texts: A Comparative Study of Indian and Chinese Commentaries on Vasubandhu’s Twenty Verses (Viṃśikā).” In addition to several book chapters and journal papers, he published three books: Emptiness and Modernity: From the Kyoto School, Modern Neo-Confucianism to Multivocal Hermeneutics (Taipei: New Century Publication, 1999) and A Passage of Dialectics (Taipei: New Century Publication, 2002), and Emptiness and Method: Explorations in Cross-Cultural Buddhist Philosophy (Taipei: The NCCU Press, 2012). All are in Chinese. Recently, A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism, co-edited with Michael Radich and published by the University of Hamburg Press, is accessible online at