East meets West in Brock researcher's fellowship award

News around Campus

East meets West in Brock researcher's fellowship award

Published on March 15 2011


 A Brock researcher will spend his summer vacation searching German archives for answers to complex philosophical questions thanks to a prestigious fellowship award.

Wing-Cheuk Chan, philosophy professor, was recently awarded a three-month research fellowship from the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The award, valued $14,000, will allow Chan to spend time in the Leibniz Archives in Hannover to investigate his project: “The Labyrinth of the Continuum as a Metaphysical Problem.” 

According to Leibniz, a 17th-century German philosopher, there are two labyrinths in philosophy: while the first concerns freedom, the second concerns continuum. Chan aims to solve the second one, but from the perspective of Chinese philosophy. “This might also help clarify why this great German philosopher was so enthusiastic with the Yijing (The Book of Changes), which is perhaps the most ancient Chinese philosophical text,” Chan noted. He said the research may also shed light on a new settlement of the priority-debate concerning the calculus between Newton and Leibniz.

This is the second time Chan has received this fellowship award. A recipient of funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, he has also received research fellowships from the National Science Council of Taiwan; the Indo-Canadian Shastri-Foundation of India; and the CCK-Foundation of Taiwan. Chan, who has also adjudicated in philosophy for SSHRC, said his contributions are evidence that Brock’s philosophy department holds a unique place in Canada for its emphasis on comparative studies of Eastern and Western philosophy.