Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life

Paperback Blackwell Public Philosophy

By (author) Sam Crane

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 216mm x 13mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 14 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1118656415
  • ISBN 13: 9781118656419
  • Edition statement: New.

Product description

This highly original work introduces the ideas and arguments of the ancient Chinese philosophies of Confucianism and Daoism to some of the most intractable social issues of modern American life, including abortion, gay marriage, and assisted suicide. Introduces the precepts of ancient Chinese philosophers to issues they could not have anticipated Relates Daoist and Confucian ideas to problems across the arc of modern human life, from birth to death Provides general readers with a fascinating introduction to Chinese philosophy, and its continued relevance Offers a fresh perspective on highly controversial American debates, including abortion, stem cell research, and assisted suicide

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Author information

Sam Crane is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Williams College, USA. Conversant in Mandarin, which he began learning while researching his doctoral thesis in the 1980s, he first visited China in 1983, and is a former faculty member of the John Hopkins academic campus in Nanjing. Author of The Political Economy of China s Special Economic Zones (1990), The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy (1991), and the highly personal Aidan s Way: The Story of a Boy s Life and a Father s Journey (2003), about life with his profoundly disabled son, Crane has long been fascinated by ancient Chinese philosophy, particularly the classical texts of the pre-imperial era.

Back cover copy

This highly original work shows how the ancient principles of Confucianism and Daoism can be applied to the manifold social problems facing contemporary America. Drawing on the wisdom of China's great traditions of humaneness, duty, integrity and non-action, the author links the ideas of Confucian and Daoist thinkers with a range of issues that trace the arc of human life. Beginning with the controversies over abortion, "in vitro" fertilization, and stem cell research, Crane shows how Chinese philosophy can enhance our understanding of the problems of human experience, adapting them to American mores on childhood, parenting, marriage, politics and public service, and death. Along the way, he considers what Confucius and Zhuangzi, among others, might have to say about matters absent from the ancient Chinese political agenda, such as gay marriage and assisted suicide. This revealing commentary on contemporary American life offers a fresh perspective on the nation's familiar political debates, introduces classical Chinese texts to a new readership, and shows today's Chinese citizens how their traditions are perceived across the Pacific dateline.

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1 Key Concepts of Confucianism and Daoism 13 2 Birth 37 3 Childhood 65 4 Work 93 5 Marriage and Family 109 6 Public and Political Life 133 7 End of Life 169 Index 195