Welcome! My name is Colin Gorrie. I am an independent scholar living and working in Hamilton, ON. I also work in the tech industry, but let’s save that sort of thing for other venues.
I received my PhD in Linguistics in 2014 from the University of Arizona, where my work focused first on morphology in the Celtic languages, and eventually how the human conceptual system affects how we study language variation and universals. Since then, my interests have broadened considerably to include symbolic systems of all kinds: not only linguistic systems, but cultural systems as well, such as religious traditions.
The conceptual systems of cultural and religious traditions function (among other things) as tools which help us survive as social creatures in a dangerous world. Although not just that. More pressingly for our current moment, I try to understand what happens when these traditions break down and what can be done about it.
One tradition I’ve been exploring recently is Confucianism, or, as it is known in Chinese, ‘the teaching of the scholars’ 儒教 rújiào (in one translation, anyway!): a tradition that developed in bronze age China, served as the foundation for East Asian culture for millennia, and is now beginning to make its way to the West. With its emphasis on self-cultivation, social harmony, virtuous political leadership, Confucianism has much to offer the West. But is a Western Confucianism genuinely possible? What does it look like?