Christine Tan is a Lecturer at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She did her Ph.D. at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, where she wrote a doctoral thesis on Guo Xiang’s ontology of Zide as a classical Chinese philosophy of freedom. She began her academic career at the University of Santo Tomas, the Philippines, where she completed an AB Philosophy thesis on the work of Julia Kristeva, and an MA Philosophy thesis on a humanist reading of Wangbi’s commentary on the Zhouyi.
She has held lecturing positions with Manila’s University of Santo Tomas and National University, and was an e-learning instructor for AMA University, Quezon City. She served as the 2018 – 2019 President of the NTU School of Humanities Graduate Student Club, as the chair & convener of the 5th College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Conference in 2019, and has developed a presentation history in both Chinese and continental philosophy.
Languages: Tagalog (Native), English (Native), Mandarin (Intermediate – HSK 4), French (Lower Intermediate – B1), Min nan Hokkien (Lower Intermediate); Classical Chinese (Intermediate)
AoS: Chinese Philosophy (Ancient Classical Texts, Confucius, Zhuangzi, Wang Bi, Guo Xiang)
AoC: Continental Philosophy (Psychoanalysis, Semiotics, Complexity Theory); Social Epistemology
[su_spoiler title=”Education” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
Nanyang Technological University
PhD in Philosophy
Thesis title: Freedom as Self-Realization: Zide 自得 in Guo Xiang’s Neo-Daoist Philosophy
Supervisors: Prof Alan K.L. Chan and Prof Chenyang Li
Thesis Advisory Committee: Prof Brook Ziporyn and Asst Prof Dimitris Apostolopoulos
[su_spoiler title=”Work” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
Modules Taught: Philosophy and Political Thought, Conceptions of Freedom in Classical Chinese Philosophy
University of Santo Tomas, Espana, Manila
Modules Taught: Classical Logic, Chinese Philosophy
National University, Jhocson St., Sampaloc, Manila
AMA University (Head Office), 59 Panay Ave. Quezon City, PH
Modules Taught: Art Appreciation, Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy and Logic, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology
[su_spoiler title=”Publications” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
“The Possibility of Moral Cultivation in the Ontological Oblivion: A Re-exploration of Hongzhou School of Chan Buddhism through Guo Xiang,” Philosophia (vol. 22:1, 2021)” style=”default” icon=”plus”]Chan Buddhism as we know it today can perhaps be traceable to what is known as the Hongzhou school, founded by Mazu Daoyi.
Although it was Huineng who represented an important turn in the development of Chan with his iconoclastic approach to enlightenment as sudden rather than gradual, it was in Huineng’s successor, Mazu, where we saw its complete radicalization. Specifically, Mazu introduced a radicalized approach of collapsing substance (體 ti) and function (用 yong), as well as principle (理 li) and phenomena (事 shi), into a complete overlap. As a result of this radicalization, the Hongzhou lineage received some strong criticisms, the most important of which was possibly by Guifeng Zongmi, of the Heze lineage. Zongmi criticized Mazu for his supposed antinomianism, claiming that Mazu’s approach completely stunts moral and religious cultivation. Due to their commitment to “suchness” rather than deliberate theory, however, Hongzhou never bothered to answer Zongmi’s critique. As such, it is the goal of this article to utilize Guo Xiang’s philosophy as a tool to understand the implicit Hongzhou response to Zongmi. As I shall demonstrate, his philosophical enterprise shares the same ontology of absolute oblivion which Hongzhou was also predicated upon and is, therefore, a possible alternative to understanding what could have been the Hongzhou response to the alleged antinomianism.[/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”““Guo Xiang’s Ontology of Zide 自得: Self-realization Beyond the Binary Self.” Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies (vol. 69:1, 2021)” style=”default” icon=”plus”]This article aims to investigate Guo Xiang’s notion of zide (self-realisation) through the framework of his non-linear and non-binary model, which was the result of his successful amalgamation of Confucian and Daoist ideals at a chaotic but also syncretic time in the historical development of Chinese Philosophy. A Neo-Daoist, Guo Xiang tried to distance himself from primitive escapism, but this has led scholars to misunderstand him as a fatalist. Looking at his ontological construction of what consists as zide, however, reveals a profound image of the autonomous self who is, simultaneously and on equal levels, both self-sufficiently independent and in possession of a unified sense of oneness with the universe. This conception of self-realisation thus goes beyond a binary self that is constantly torn between the causal empirical reality and autonomous self-determination.
[su_spoiler title=”“The Equal Onto-Epistemology of the ‘Equal Discourse of Things’ (齊物論 Qiwulun) Chapter: A Semantic Approach.” Tetsugaku: International Journal of the Philosophal Association of Japan (vol. 2, 2018), 282-295.” style=”default” icon=”plus”]The齊物論 Qiwulun chapter is perhaps the most controversial and difficut chapter of the Zhuangzi, not only philosophically speaking, but also semantically so. Indeed, precisely because of this semantic difficulty that the chapter proves to be more philosophically challenging. The title itself holds some controversy on whether it should be read as 2-1 or 1-2: the first option being that it is a discussion of the ontological equality of things, while the other option yields to the interpretation that it is an equalizing of the different schools of thought and their discussions thereof, making it a matter of epistomological relevance and an account on the matter of Truth. Needless to say, several sinologists who have translated the text for the Anglophone world have translated this differently. It is thus my aim in this article to shed a fresher Anglophone understanding through translating the chapter as “Equal Onto-Epistomology” which I support by translating—for brevity’s sake—three subsequent passages in Qiwulun which I believe aptly captures three key claims in it, specifically those with regard to philosophy of language, value, and over-all non-relative onto-epistomology. I will then provide a blow by blow interpretation.
What this leads to is the philosophical implication that Zhuangzi was a realist, as he does acknowledge an appropriate position among myriad views: that of the whole as found in the particular, that is, the “fulcrum of Dao,” or 道樞 daoshu. Zhuangzi thus was a realist not only in the sense that he is not beholden to the idea of a romantic Oneness which universalizes all, but also, in the sense that he maintained that there’s an objective world – even though we can’t know it fully, complex and ever-changing as it is. [/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”《易經》與和諧的人之教化：從王弼和韓康伯注中重讀《易經》的宇宙本體論及人的地位 in 治氣養心之術：中國早期的修身方法 (The Arts of Ordering the Body and Developing the Mind: Early Chinese Self-Cultivation Methods), Edited by Paul Fischer. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 2017, 36-49.” style=”default” icon=”plus”] This study is particularly interested in the metaphysics and cosmology of the Yi Jing as it tries explore the configuration of the cosmos in order to find man’s place in it. Indeed, according to Willard Peterson in his commentary of the Xi Ci, the implicit question, which the said 5th and 6th Wings are trying to address, is that: “Given that flux is characteristic of the realm of heaven-and-earth, and within it the realm of human society undergoes movement, then how are we to cope with, or even dwell within, our confusing world of change?” It is thus the very aim of this study to explore these assumptions on a metaphysical basis in order to find what the Yi Jing teaches us about man’s place in the cosmos, and eventually his path towards cultivation. In order to do this, the first part of the article will deal with the metaphysics of the text, that is, the problem of the One and the Many as taken up by the Yi Jing, for it through an analysis of the nature of the cosmos that we may find the underlying emphasis on harmony, which shall be discussed in the next section, specifically that of the heaven-earth-man triad, eventually arriving at the cultivation of man as a creative activity that we ourselves make, for it is this notion which brings humanity back to the center of the cosmos, challenging the contemporary world-view which dwarfs man under the banners of classical science and technology. The philosophy of the Yi Jing, thus, is a nudging reminder of a stalwart humanism which, as On-Cho Ng would put it, “redeems us from the sterile scientific worldview that magnifies our insignificant smallness in the cosmos – a mere speck in geological time, a sheer conglomeration of minute atomic activities,” but also and perhaps more importantly so, from the hedonism which positions the individual man as the center of the universe and arbiter of his own fate, that also so strongly pervades today’s consumerist society.
[su_spoiler title=”“The Butterfly Dream and Zhuangzi’s Perspectivism: An Exploration of the Differing Interpretations of the Butterfly Dream against the Backdrop of Dao as Pluralistic Monism.” Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy (vol. 10:2, 2016), 100-121.” style=”default” icon=”plus”]The Butterfly Dream is probably one of the most well-known anecdotes in philosophical literature, and as such, it has both enjoyed and suffered from several interpretations and misinterpretations. There are much more interpretations of the Butterfly Dream than this study can gloss over, but for the sake of brevity: I divide the two approaches according to how they view the characters in the plot. Specifically speaking, the first group, which for convenience I will call the egoistic thesis, views the plot in such a way that Zhuangzi is Chuang Chou, and that the butterfly is an imagined representation of the mind, while the second group, which for convenience I will call the monistic thesis, holds that Zhuangzi is different from Chuang Chou as well as the butterfly, hence supposing that the butterfly dream is an entirely distinct reality. Albeit seemingly crude, this provides a simple yet insightful view of the premises that prevent one approach from compromising with the other, as well as the crossing over of one interpretation into another which belong to the same approach. Moreover, this approach will allow me to better fulfill the overarching aim of this study, which is to contextualize a specific rendition of the monistic thesis against the backdrop of the philosophy of the Inner Chapters and its notion of Dao as a whole such that the Zhuangzi will emerge more aptly as a perspectivist. In other words, the Butterfly Dream points to what Hans-Georg Moeller terms as “a structure of presence” which, if viewed against the context of Zhuangzi’s philosophy, shows the paradox of the absolute unity but also the absolute singularity of all things. [/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”“The Cultured Man as the Noble Man: Jun zi 君子 as a Man of Li 禮 in Lun yu 論語.” Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy (vol. 9:2, 2015), 177-192.” style=”default” icon=”plus”]The aim of this article is to show the Confucian virtue of li as the highest embodiment of the Jun zi as found in the Lun yu. While ren remains the most primary and most important of the virtues, it is an inner goodness which can only find its expression or manifestation in the virtue of li, while such manifestation is made possible only through an external ontological ideal that is the virtue of yi. As such, the interplay of ren and yi, which finds its harmony in li, is made possible only through the embodiment of li as a dynamic moral principle given substance by ren and given form by li, and perfected by the Jun zi. [/su_spoiler]
[su_spoiler title=”Presentations” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
Invited Speaker, “The Evils of Truth and Knowledge: A Post-colonial Approach to Other-ing in Philosophical Discourse,” BTG Webinar 6: Tremulous Speech: Other-ed and Silenced Subjects Talking Back to Philosophy, held by Women Doing Philosophy, 28 August 2021 (over Zoom)
Invited Speaker, “The Cultured Man as the Noble Man: Jun zi 君子 as a Man of Li 禮 in Lun yu 論語,” Ethics 1 Guest Lectures: “Asian Ethical Frameworks,” held by the College of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines, Baguio, 10 May 2021 (over Zoom)
“Epistemic Injustice and the Ontology of Self-So: A Study of Guo Xiang’s Ontological Oblivion in Relation to Miranda Fricker’s Notion of ‘Epistemic Injustice,’” 21st International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, held at the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, July, 2019
“The Sameness and Difference of One’s Nature (性xing) in Guo Xiang,” Singapore-Hong Kong-Macau Symposium on Chinese Philosophy 2019, held at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, May, 2019
“Li as Ziran in the Analects: Spontaneity in the Ritualized Self,” 24th World Congress of Philosophy: Learning to be Human, held at Peking University, Beijing, China, August, 2018
“Freedom Beyond Realism and Idealism: Re-visiting Guo Xiang’s Ontology of Zide 自得” Creating a Philosophy for the Future, held at the University of Macau, Macau, China, November 2017.
“Zhuangzi Beyond the Postmodern: The Necessity of Contingency in Guo Xiang’s Inclusive Account of Causality and Freedom” 2nd Biennial Conference of the European Association for Chinese Philosophy, held at the University of Basel, Switzerland, September 2017.
Presenter, “The Inclusive Humanism of Wang Bi: Unity of Dao道 as Wu 無” 20th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, held at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. July 2017
“On the Notion of Li 禮 and Jun zi 君子,” 27th Confucian Night, held at Oasis Events Place, San Juan, Philippines, Septermber 2015
“The Yi Jing and the Harmonious Cultivation Of Man: A re-reading of the metaphysics of the cosmos and man’s place in it from the Wang Bi/Han Kang Bo Commentaries on the Xi Ci,” 19th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, held at the Chinese University of Hongkong, HK, PRC. July 2015
“At the Intersection of the Mystical Yin 陰 and the Practical Yang 陽: The Indivisibility of Dao 道 in Sun Zi 孫子 and Lao Zi 老子in light of the Yi Jing 易經,” Existence through the Lens of Oriental Philosophy, in celebration of World Philosophy Day, held at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, November 2014
“The Kristevan Fantasy and Imaginary in the Society of the Spectacle: Thought Specular from Cinema to Virtual Reality,” “Philosophy is Not Dead”: Philosophy on Pop Culture, held at the University of Santo Tomas, by the Concilium Philosiphiae (the official undergraduate council of the UST Philosophy Dept.), December 2013
“The Kristevan Aesthetic of the Sublime: Lapses of Meaning from the Meaningless Abject,” 6th DLSU Arts Congress, held at the De La Salle University, February 2013
Protest and the Public Sphere, held at the Ateneo de Manila University, by the Philosophy Circle of the Philippines, August 2012
“Understanding Ramanuja’s Concept of the Brahman-Atman Relationship Through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Analogous Being,” Kapihan 2011: On Thomistic Philosophy , held at the University of Santo Tomas, February 2011
[su_spoiler title=”Grants and Awards” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
NTU Research Scholarship
Nanyang Confucian Association, Singapore
“Tan Ean Kiam Chinese Philosophy Award,” S$3000
European Association of Chinese Philosophy, Basel
“Young Scholar Award” (Runner-Up) 400CHF
[su_spoiler title=”Conferences and Workshops Organized” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
“Humanity and Society in the Digital Age,” 5th CoHASS Graduate Conference, held at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. March 2019. (with Guest of Honor, SMS Dr. Janil Puthucheary)
1st Philosophy Graduate Workshop, held at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. 31st October 2018.
“Chinese Philosophy in a Multicultural World, ” 20th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy, held at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. July 2017.
“Paul Riceour in Asia,” Ateneo de Manila University; University of Santo Tomas. November 2015.
“Thomism and Asian Cultures: Celebrating 400 Years of Dialogue Across Civilizations,” University of Santo Tomas. May 2011.
[su_spoiler title=”Other Academic and Administrative Services” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
Nanyang Teaching Award, School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Evaluation Committee Member
!deas Fest 2019 (Inaugural Undergraduate Humanities Conference), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Nanyang Education Award, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Evaluation Committee Member
School of Humanities Graduate Student Club, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
School of Humanities Graduate Student Club, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Honorary General Secretary