Convergence with Nature

Convergence with Nature : A Daoist Perspective

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In this book David E. Cooper explores our relationship to nature - to animals, to plants, to natural places - and asks how it can be shaped into an appropriate one which contributes to the good of people's lives as a whole. Religions and philosophies have much to say about our relationship with nature, and Chinese Daoist philosophy has long been regarded as among those most sympathetic to the natural world. Daoists seek an attunement to the Dao (the Way) which is characterized by a sense of flow (water being a favourite metaphor), spontaneity, non-interference, humility and patience - virtues which contrast with the aggressive and exploitative values which characterize a modern world increasingly subject to economic imperatives.

Like the best of contemporary nature writing, the classic Daoist texts reveal a yearning for convergence with nature, nostalgia for a lost intimacy with the natural world, disillusion with humanity or its products, and a feeling for nature's mystery. The author explains how these attitudes are rooted in Daoist philosophy and explores their implications for our practical engagement with natural environments. He discusses, too, a number of ethical issues - including hunting, intensive farming, and environmental activism - that reflective people need to address in their efforts to heal our relationship with the Earth.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 12.95mm | 244.94g
  • Totnes, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0857840231
  • 9780857840233
  • 70,517

Table of contents

1 Orientation

Nature writing

Some modern moods

Philosophy's roles

2 Why Daoism?

Nature and people in Chinese art

In a Daoist key

Daoist moods

3 Religion, technology, estrangement

Theology and `the ecological crisis'

A philosopher's hut

Daoism, technology and estrangement


4 Estrangement, environmentalism and `otherness'

Rhetoric and reality

Nature's `otherness'

5 Nature in Daoism

`Nature': some connected senses

Nature as educator

Nature and virtue

6 On the Way (1): dao, world and unity

Dao, God, nature and nothing

Dao, experience and world

Self, world and the unity of things

7 On the Way (2): de, virtues and sages

De and the myriad things

`Profound de' and human virtues

The Daoist sage

8 Mindfulness of nature

Mindfulness, disinterestedness and impartiality

Mirroring nature and `dirty glass'

Science and reverie

9 Nature, feeling and appreciation

Sober joy

Opposing moods

Enjoying natural beauty

10 Engaging with nature

Activity, engagement, intervention

Being outdoors

Engagement, environment and convergence

`The Daoist body'

11 Wilderness, wildness, wildlife

The wild

Wildlife and hunting

Guns, cameras, companions

12 Intervening in nature

Industry and technology


The Daoist garden

13 Intervening for nature?

Activism and virtue

Environmentalism and wu wei

Daoism and quietism


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Review quote

"Without over-burdening his text with quotations or references, and by writing in the first person, Cooper provides a succinct and readable guide through some of the meanings and implications of what he prefers to call Daodeism." -- Martin Spray, * Ecos - A Review of Conservation. *
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About David E. Cooper

David E. Cooper was Professor of Philosophy at Durham University for many years and has been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Canada, Malta, Sri Lanka and South Africa. His philosophical interests range from environmental ethics to aesthetics, from the philosophy of language to Asian thought, from the history of philosophy to the philosophy of religion. His many books include Existentialism: A Reconstruction, World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction, The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery and A Philosophy of Gardens.
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Rating details

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3 22% (2)
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