Zhuangzi and Early Chinese Philosophy

Zhuangzi and Early Chinese Philosophy : Vagueness, Transformation and Paradox

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The Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi (also known as Chuang Tzu), along with Confucius, Lao Tzu, and the Buddha, ranks among the most influential thinkers in the development of East Asian thought. His literary style is humorous and entertaining, yet the philosophical content is extraordinarily subtle and profound. This book introduces key topics in early Daoist philosophy. Drawing on several issues and methods in Western philosophy, from analytical philosophy to semiotics and hermeneutics, the author throws new light on the ancient Zhuangzi text. Engaging Daoism and contemporary Western philosophical logic, and drawing on new developments in our understanding of early Chinese culture, Coutinho challenges the interpretation of Zhuangzi as either a skeptic or a relativist, and instead seeks to explore his philosophy as emphasizing the ineradicable vagueness of language, thought and reality. This new interpretation of the Zhuangzi offers an important development in the understanding of Daoist philosophy, describing a world in flux in which things themselves are vague and inconsistent, and tries to show us a Way (a Dao) to negotiate through the shadows of a "chaotic" world."
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 155.96 x 233.93mm | 381.02g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138266396
  • 9781138266391

Table of contents

Contents: Preface; Vagueness: 'east' and 'west'; Zhuangzi: text, author, context; Interpretation: problems and methods; Xiao Yao You: wandering beyond the boundaries; Mohism: clarity and dichotomous evaluation; Vagueness and the Laozi; Vastness, imagination and penumbral cases; Qi Wu Lun: anomalies and the grindstone; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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Author information

Steve Coutinho is a professor of Asian and Comparative philosophy. His area of research is early Chinese philosophy, on which he has published several articles, critical reviews, and encyclopedia entries. He was trained in analytical philosophy at University College London, where he also completed an M. Phil. in Husserl s phenomenology. He developed his expertise in Chinese philosophy and classical Chinese language at the University of Hawai i with Roger Ames, David McCraw, and Cheng Chung-ying. He has taught at the University of London, the University of Hawai i, and is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy Muhlenberg College, USA"
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