Conceptions of Writing in Early China: An Analysis of Metaphors in Warring States Texts


ACLS Fellowship Program


Religious Studies


This project involves new research on the meaning of writing and language from the Warring States period (453-221 B.C.E.) in China. The project, which I plan to publish as a book, blends Chinese philosophy, literary criticism, Warring States history, and grammatology —working with traditional sources and transcripts of recovered archaeological texts. This study is the first to analyze how the period's conceptions of writing's relation to speech pertain to questions raised by philosophy of language. It may contribute to a broad cross-cultural philosophical debate about the relation of language to thought and the world, by investigating whether ideas about writing and/or speech in early China address similar philosophical concerns.