Speaker: Chien-hsing Ho (Academia Sinica, Taiwan)
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 18, 2018: 18:00-19:30
Venue: 京都大学文学部地下1階小会議室（the Building No. 8 of this map）
Title: Ontic Indeterminacy: Reconstructing Chinese Madhyamaka Thought
According to Indian Madhyamaka, all things originate dependently and have no independent, invariable nature or existence. Consequently, things are said to be empty. In Chinese Buddhism, this doctrine of emptiness was ardently expounded by Sengzhao僧肇(374?−414 CE) and Jizang吉藏(549−623 CE), two leading exponents of Chinese Madhyamaka. On their view, things are empty mainly because they are devoid of determinate nature and form (無定性、無定相). For exegetical reasons, this lack of determinate nature and form may best be explicated in terms of conceptual and linguistic indeterminability.
In my talk, I intend, based on Sengzhao’s and Jizang’s works, to reconstruct an ontological notion of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy (OI), which involves the thesis that all things are indeterminate with respect to the ways they are (their existence, nature, property, form, etc.). This notion bears some resemblance to the analytic-philosophical notion of metaphysical indeterminacy (MI) and for my reconstruction I make use the determinable-based account of MI presented by Jessica Wilson. The crucial task here is to explore how the notion of OI would tackle a few issues that (may) concern advocates of MI, namely, the issues of indeterminate existence and identity as well as an issue pertaining to the problem of change.