Associate Professor of Philosophy
Bradley Douglas Park received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Hawai‘i in 2004 and joined the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland that same year. He teaches of courses in East Asian philosophy, continental philosophy, and embodied cognition. In his spare time, he studies mountain banjo and the old time music of central West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. He is currently on sabbatical for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Areas of Research Specialization
- Embodied Cognition
- East Asian Philosophy
Areas of Teaching Specialization
- Continental Philosophy
B.A. in Philosophy at Trent University, 1996
M.A. in Comparative Philosophy at University of Hawaii, 1999
Ph.D. in Comparative Philosophy at University of Hawaii, 2004
- "Vitality as Responsivity: Levinas and Lao-Zhuang Daoism" in Levinas and Asian Thought, Duquesne University Press, 2013
At first glance, it might seem inappropriate to place the classical Chinese thought of Lao-Zhuang Daoism in dialogue with the postmodern continental philosophy of Lévinas, given the rather obvious fact that they emerge out of utterly disparate traditions. And yet, a closer look reveals that they share comparable insights clustered around the lived experience of Otherness and our “moral” orientation towards alterity. More specifically, both lines of thought center on a relation to otherness rooted in the body’s very vitality.
In his 1965 essay “Intentionality and Sensation,” Lévinas writes that: “Movement and gait are in the very subjectivity of the subject.” (Lévinas, 1998a, p. 147) Not only would Lao-Zhuang Daoists be sympathetic with such a claim, they anticipate the central thrust of the idea, namely, that subjectivity takes shape along the contours of a concrete comportment. Indeed, they take the point a step further than Lévinas. The Daoists recognize that there are differing ways in which movement and gait are enacted. This subsequent insight discloses an important critical space for investigating what styles of movement and gait, i.e., what kinds of subjectivity, are more or less responsible to alterity?
It is my contention that skillful, ecstatic comportment represents the Daoist answer to this question. Through Daoist writings on the connection between “fasting the mind” and skillful embodiment, I argue against quietistic interpretations of the Daoist wu-forms (non-acting, non-knowing, and so forth). In turn, the action-oriented aspects of Daoism provide the basis for an intervention in Lévinas’s thinking on the relation between knowing and violence. Specifically, Daoism allows us to explore a skillful mode of bodily knowing that is non-violent, and indeed necessary for the lived enactment of other-oriented responsiveness.
- "The Resonant Mind: Daoism and Situated-Embodied Cognition" in American Philosophical Association Newsletter v13. No. 1
Situated and embodied views about mind are gaining increasing currency both in and outside of philosophy. Clearly, there is broad sympathy for the task of critically liberating ourselves from the spell of an Enlightenment conception of subjectivity. The embedded, extended, embodied, and enactive perspectives on cognition and mind (hereafter, the 4-Es) have articulated key vantages for revealing how deeply these modernist presuppositions have informed our notions of cognition, consciousness, affect, and intersubjectivity. The dovetailing of these perspectives provides a powerful set of discourses for critically disentangling ourselves from the received, and oftentimes untenable, assumptions about who we are.
Despite the general alignment with respect to the situated body, however, this new philosophy of mind has failed to coalesce around a general organizing model, metaphor, prototype, or paradigm of mind. The primary aim of this paper is to recommend the Daoist conception of the “resonant mind” as a viable candidate for coordinating the 4-E approaches to cognition, because it stands in the right critical relation to the current organizing model of mind, namely, the “mind as container.” Moreover, on the positive side, it rather directly entails many of the core commitments distinguishing the 4-E approaches from classical cognitive science. Given the scope of this venue, however, my discussion will have to be largely suggestive in this regard. The bulk of the essay will concentrate on explicating and clarifying the Daoist conception of mind qua sympathetic resonance (ganying, 感應), though I will schematically introduce some of the obvious points of contact vis-à-vis situated, embodied cognition.