About Tao Jiang
I am a scholar of classical Chinese philosophy, Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy, and cross-cultural philosophy. Currently, I am a professor in the Department of Religion and an associate member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, US.
I grew up in the ancient city of Chengdu in China’s southwest, “where the pace is slow, the food is spicy and there’s always time for a good gossip over a cup of tea.” As a boy, I often dreamt of an adventurous life in a faraway place, which probably explains why I came all the way to America to pursue my dream. Although America is far enough from China, an academic life devoted to philosophical inquiry does not sound like much of an adventure. Except it is an adventure: a genuine philosophical inquiry is an adventure of the mind in which that very inquisitive mind is its own limit. My approach to philosophy is to treat it as a way to study particular forms of intellectual and moral culture and the people who produce it.
I am the author of Contexts and Dialogue: Yogācāra Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind and the co-editor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China: China’s Freudian Slip. My articles have appeared in leading Asian and comparative philosophy journals and several major anthologies. My new book, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China, is published by Oxford University Press in 2021. I have also been working on several other book projects, including a new interpretation of Linji's Chan/Zen Buddhist philosophy, Buddha Nature in medieval Chinese intellectual history, and a comparative project on free will.
I am Chair of the Department of Religion and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at Rutgers University. I also co-direct the Rutgers Workshop on Chinese Philosophy and co-chair the Neo-Confucian Studies Seminar at Columbia University. I am currently the co-chair of the Buddhist Philosophy Unit under the American Academy of Religion annual meeting. I serve on the editorial boards of Dao, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Confucian Philosophy and Culture, and Journal of Buddhist Philosophy.
I am married. We enjoy hanging out in coffee shops, museums, parks, and watching movies. We play tennis from time to time and love going to the US Open Tennis Championships. We support all effort dedicated to the saving of the world's wildlife. These amazing videos “Hungry polar bear surprises a seal”, “Elephant Calf Starves To Death Due To Drought” from the BBC Earth series have opened up our eyes to the beauty, intelligence and misery of animal lives in the wilderness. Check them out, if you haven't, and your view about wildlife will never be the same again.
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