Biography

John R. Williams studied Chinese languages at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) 國際華語研習所 of National Taiwan University 國立臺灣大學 before taking a Ph.D. in Chinese philosophy from the National University of Singapore 新加坡國立大學, where he received a President's Graduate Fellowship. He wrote his dissertation on The Apothecary Monk Yaodi Decocts the Zhuangzi (Yàodì páo Zhuāng 藥地炮莊) by Fāng Yǐzhì 方以智 (1611-1671). He is interested in Chinese philosophy, especially traditional philosophically-oriented readings of the Zhuāngzǐ 莊子 (c. 4th to 3rd century BCE) by Guō Xiàng 郭象 (252-312), Wáng Fūzhī 王夫之 (1619-1692), Fāng Yǐzhì, and others. And he is also interested in Chinese aesthetics, especially appreciative literary criticism on the Zhuāngzǐ by Lín Xīyì 林希逸 (1193-1271), Lín Yúnmíng 林雲銘 (1628-1697), Xuān Yǐng 宣穎 (fl. 1721), Liú Fèngbāo 劉鳳苞 (1826-1905), and the like. Recently he was selected for the Shenzhen Peacock Talent Program.


嵇康曰:「老子、莊周,吾之師也,親居賤職。」


Publications

Books:


o 莊子內篇匯評詮釋 The Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi: With Copious Annotations from the Chinese Commentaries (with Christoph Harbsmeier 何莫邪), Studien zur Geistesgeschichte und Literatur in China, Vol. 27 (edited by Hans van Ess, Roderich Ptak, and Thomas O. Höllmann), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. (forthcoming)



Peer-Reviewed Articles & Book Chapters in English:


o 論《莊子》傳統註釋中「庖丁」與「養生」關係的考察摘要” A Note Concerning the Relationship between Butcher Ding [庖丁] and Nourishing Life [養生] in the Traditional Zhuangzi Commentaries,Early China, 46 (forthcoming)


“Imaginative Agency and Meaning in Life During Periods of Instability: Zhuangzi as a  “Text for an Age of Decline (shuai shi zhi shu 衰世之書)” (with Lucas Scripter), Moral and Public Agency in Early Chinese Philosophy (edited by Eirik Harris and Henrique Schneider), Sinica Leidensia, Leiden: Brill. (forthcoming)


o “Zhuang Zi and the Greatest Joyousness” [至樂]: Wang Fuzhi’s [王夫之 (1619-1692)] Approach,” Comparative Philosophy, 14(2) (2023)


  1. o “Qian Mu [錢穆 (1895-1990)] Reads Zhuangzi: Regarding “There Has Not Yet Begun to be a ‘There Has Not Yet Begun to be Nothing’” [有未始有夫未始有無也者],” Asian Philosophy, 32(2) (2022)


  2. o “方以智注莊周夢蝶” 故事的翻譯與注解  “An Annotated Translation of Fang Yizhi’s [方以智 (1611-1671)] Commentary on Zhuangzi’s “Butterfly Dream” Story,” Monumenta Serica, 70(2) (2022)


  3. o “A Couple Nagging Interpretive Difficulties in Zhuangzi Studies vis-à-vis William James on the Ethics and Psychology of Belief,” Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 14(4) (2019)


  4. o “以何莫邪 (Christoph Harbsmeier) 論點否定賴蘊慧 (Karyn Lai) 與凱文· 德拉普 (Kevin Delapp) 所指出的早期儒家認識論的特性”  “Christoph Harbsmeier contra Karyn Lai and Kevin DeLapp on the Epistemological Characteristics of Early Confucianism,” Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture, 30 (2018)


  5. o “Two Paradigmatic Strategies for Reading Zhuang Zi’s “Happy Fish” Vignette as Philosophy: Guo Xiang’s [郭象 (252-312)] and Wang Fuzhi’s [王夫之 (1619-1692)] Approaches,” Comparative Philosophy, 9(2) (2018)


  6. o “The Vanishing Wild Card: Challenges and Implications of Ziporyn’s Zhuangzi,” Philosophy East & West, 67(1) (2017)


  7. o “The Radiance of Drift and Doubt: Zhuangzi and the Starting Point of Philosophical Discourse,” Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy, 16(1) (2017)