An introduction to Daoist philosophies by Steve Coutinho

By Steve Coutinho

"In this publication the writer explores intimately the basic ideas of Daoist concept as represented in 3 early texts: the Laozi, the Zhuangzi, and the Liezi. Readers attracted to philosophy but unusual with Daoism will achieve a accomplished realizing of those works from this research, and readers interested by historic China who additionally desire to clutch its philosophical foundations will relish the clarity Read more...

summary: "In this e-book the writer explores intimately the basic thoughts of Daoist notion as represented in 3 early texts: the Laozi, the Zhuangzi, and the Liezi. Readers attracted to philosophy but unexpected with Daoism will achieve a finished knowing of those works from this research, and readers occupied with old China who additionally desire to take hold of its philosophical foundations will have fun with the readability and intensity of the author's reasons. He writes a quantity for all readers, whether they have a history in philosophy or chinese language stories. a piece of comparative philosophy, this quantity additionally integrates the suggestions and techniques of up to date philosophical discourse right into a dialogue of early chinese language concept. The ensuing discussion relates historic chinese language concept to modern philosophical matters and makes use of glossy Western principles and ways to throw new interpretive mild on classical texts. instead of functionality as ancient curiosities, those works act as residing philosophies in dialog with modern inspiration and adventure. the writer respects the multiplicity of Daoist philosophies whereas additionally revealing a particular philosophical sensibility, and he offers transparent motives of those complicated texts with no resorting to oversimplification" -- From publisher's web site

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Extra resources for An introduction to Daoist philosophies

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Passages with different philosophical leanings are juxtaposed. Themes are not dealt with in a linear fashion, but are scattered throughout the texts; even individual paragraphs can contain a motley array of ideas. Reading them requires literary sensibility, time to ruminate imaginatively, and great patience. But the reader may still be at a loss as to how to extract their philosophical significances. The Laozi is composed primarily of concise verse; the Zhuangzi and the Liezi are for the most part juxtapositions of narratives of varying length, not always obviously concerned with the same theme.

They emphasize emptiness, xu 虛, and nothing, wu 無, as the root, and adaptation, yin 因, and following, xun 循, as the practice. The quotations and the concepts of emptiness and nothing appear to be references to the Laozi. The Daojia that Sima Tan describes is an eclectic theory of government quite different in spirit from most of the apolitical or antipolitical passages of the early Daoist texts. 12 Thus, the earliest recorded usage of the term “Daojia” that we have, from a self-professed adherent, refers primarily to this Han dynasty syncretistic school of sagely government.

The narrator of the first chapter of the Zhuangzi is not literally claiming that there exists a fish the size of a continent. One must extract the salient characteristics of the image, metaphor, or fictitious entity and identify what philosophical concepts it is being used to explore. There may, of course, be more than one. The size of the fish may represent vastness as that which goes beyond our ordinary understanding, as well as the vastness of the cosmos, while the fish, the darkness, and the ocean represent the yin phases in the transformations of things.

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