Summary of doctoral thesis: My doctoral thesis, provisionally entitled “Parmenides and Zhuangzi on Formulating what Can (and Cannot) Be Known”, offers a comparative treatment of two foundational texts in the global history of philosophy: the classical Chinese Daoist text known as the Zhuangzi and the fragments of the early Greek philosopher Parmenides. My thesis more specifically explores differences in these texts’ argumentative strategies for expressing views about the reach of human knowledge and language, while at the same time highlighting their shared appeal to analogies and metaphors in their efforts to formulate such views coherently. In several chapters I adopt a dialogical approach, bringing the Zhuangzi in conversation with Parmenides on a range of issues, such as whether we can coherently speak about ‘being’ and ‘not-being’, whether we can know that reality is (numerically) ‘one’, or whether we can ever transcend our human perspective on the world. In doing so, I seek to demonstrate how a comparative treatment of these texts can shed new light on old interpretive problems, as well as challenging certain received views about the philosophies and argumentative approaches of both texts.
Other research interests: comparative methodology; intercultural philosophy; global history and historiography of philosophy.