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Chien-hsing Ho
Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  1. Ontic Indeterminacy: Chinese Madhyamaka in the Contemporary Context.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):419-433.
    A number of analytical philosophers have recently endorsed the view that the world itself is indeterminate in some respect. Intriguingly, ideas similar to the view are expressed by thinkers from Chinese Madhyamaka Buddhism, which may shed light on the current discussion of worldly indeterminacy. Using as a basis Chinese Madhyamaka thought, together with Jessica Wilson’s account of indeterminacy, I develop an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which centres on two complementary ideas—conclusive indeterminability and provisional determinability. I show that (...)
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  2. Saying the Unsayable.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2006 - Philosophy East and West 56 (3):409-427.
    A number of traditional philosophers and religious thinkers advocated an ineffability thesis to the effect that the ultimate reality cannot be expressed as it truly is by human concepts and words. However, if X is ineffable, the question arises as to how words can be used to gesture toward it. We can't even say that X is unsayable, because in doing so, we would have made it sayable. In this article, I examine the solution offered by the fifth-century Indian grammarian-philosopher (...)
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  3. Resolving the Ineffability Paradox.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2015 - In Arindam Chakrabarti & Ralph Weber (eds.), Comparative Philosophy without Borders. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 69-82.
    A number of contemporary philosophers think that the unqualified statement “X is unspeakable” faces the danger of self-referential absurdity: if this statement is true, it must simultaneously be false, given that X is speakable by the predicate word “unspeakable.” This predicament is in this chapter formulated as an argument that I term the “ineffability paradox.” After examining the Buddhist semantic theory of apoha (exclusion) and an apoha solution to the issue, I resort to a few Chinese Buddhist and Hindu philosophical (...)
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  4.  63
    Causation and Ontic Indeterminacy.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (1):43-61.
    In this article, I first introduce an Indian Madhyamaka Buddhist critique of causality and discuss critically a contemporary Humean interpretation of the critique. After presenting a Chinese Madhyamaka interpretation, I resort to an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which draws on Chinese Madhyamaka thought together with Jessica Wilson’s account of metaphysical indeterminacy, to show that the conception is well equipped to unravel two puzzling issues that arise from the critique. I suggest that a world that consists of things (...)
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  5.  80
    How Not to Avoid Speaking.Chien-Hsing Ho - 1996 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 24 (5):541-562.
    Mahayana Buddhist philosophers’ attitude toward language is notoriously negative. The transcendental reality is often said to be ineffable. One’s obsession to apprehend the truth through words is an intellectual disease to be cured Attachment to verbal and conceptual proliferation enslaves oneself in the afflictive circle of life and death. Nevertheless, no Buddhist can afford to overlook the significance of language in preaching Buddhist dharmas as well as in day-to-day transactions. The point is not that of keeping silence. Rather, one should (...)
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  6. Interdependence and Nonduality: On the Linguistic Strategy of the Platform Sūtra.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2016 - Philosophy East and West 66 (4):1231-1250.
    Although Chan, or Zen, Buddhism traditionally claimed itself as a special transmission outside doctrinal teachings that eschews the written word, it has long been praised for its improvisational, atypical, intriguing, and intricate use of words. Prominent Chan masters are characteristically skillful in employing paradoxical and aporetic phrases, figurative and poetic expressions, negations, questions, repetitions, and so forth, to express their thoughts, indicate their awakened states of mind, cut off the interlocutor’s habitual dualistic thinking, or evoke in him or her an (...)
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  7. Meaning, Understanding, and Knowing-What: An Indian Grammarian Notion of Intuition (Pratibha).Chien-Hsing Ho - 2014 - Philosophy East and West 64 (2):404-424.
    For Bhartrhari, a fifth-century Indian grammarian-philosopher, all conscious beings—beasts, birds and humans—are capable of what he called pratibha, a flash of indescribable intuitive understanding such that one knows what the present object “means” and what to do with it. Such an understanding, if correct, amounts to a mode of knowing that may best be termed knowing-what, to distinguish it from both knowing-that and knowing-how. This paper attempts to expound Bhartrhari’s conception of pratibha in relation to the notions of meaning, understanding, (...)
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  8. Paradoxical Language in Chan Buddhism.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2020 - In Yiu-Ming Fung (ed.), Dao Companion to Chinese Philosophy of Logic. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 389-404.
    Chinese Chan or Zen Buddhism is renowned for its improvisational, atypical, and perplexing use of words. In particular, the tradition’s encounter dialogues, which took place between Chan masters and their interlocutors, abound in puzzling, astonishing, and paradoxical ways of speaking. In this chapter, we are concerned with Chan’s use of paradoxical language. In philosophical parlance, a linguistic paradox comprises the confluence of opposite or incongruent concepts in a way that runs counter to our common sense and ordinary rational thinking. One (...)
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  9. The Nonduality of Motion and Rest: Sengzhao on the Change of Things.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2018 - In Youru Charlie Wang & Sandra A. Wawrytko (eds.), Dao Companion to Chinese Buddhist Philosophy. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 175-188.
    In his essay “Things Do Not Move,” Sengzhao (374?−414 CE), a prominent Chinese Buddhist philosopher, argues for the thesis that the myriad things do not move in time. This view is counter-intuitive and seems to run counter to the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine of emptiness. In this book chapter, I assess Sengzhao’s arguments for his thesis, elucidate his stance on the change/nonchange of things, and discuss related problems. I argue that although Sengzhao is keen on showing the plausibility of the thesis, (...)
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  10. The Way of Nonacquisition: Jizang's Philosophy of Ontic Indeterminacy.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2014 - In Chen-Kuo Lin & Michael Radich (eds.), A Distant Mirror: Articulating Indic Ideas in Sixth and Seventh Century Chinese Buddhism. Hamburg: Hamburg University Press. pp. 397-418.
    For Jizang (549−623), a prominent philosophical exponent of Chinese Madhyamaka, all things are empty of determinate form or nature. Given anything X, no linguistic item can truly and conclusively be applied to X in the sense of positing a determinate form or nature therein. This philosophy of ontic indeterminacy is connected closely with his notion of the Way (dao), which seems to indicate a kind of ineffable principle of reality. However, Jizang also equates the Way with nonacquisition as a conscious (...)
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