Death, Self, and Oneness in the Incomprehensible ZhuangziEric Schwitzgebel
in P.J. Ivanhoe, O. Flanagan, R. Harrison, H. Sarkissian, and E. Schwitzgebel, eds., Oneness in Philosophy, Religion, and Psychology (Columbia University Press: 2018).
The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi defies coherent interpretation. This is an inextricable part of the beauty and power of his work. The text – by which I mean the “Inner Chapters” of the text traditionally attributed to him, the authentic core of the book – is incomprehensible as a whole. It consists of shards, in a distinctive voice – a voice distinctive enough that its absence is plain in most or all of the “Outer” and “Miscellaneous” Chapters, and which I will treat as the voice of a single author. Despite repeating imagery, ideas, style, and tone, these shards cannot be pieced together into a self-consistent philosophy. This lack of self-consistency is a positive feature of Zhuangzi. It is part of what makes him the great and unusual philosopher he is, defying reduction and summary.
[Earlier Chinese version: “Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”: translated by R. Wang as 《庄子》中的死亡与自我 (2015), Journal of Shangqiu Normal University (商丘師範大學), 31 (2015), issue 11, 29-34.]
By following either of the links below, you are requesting a copy for personal use only, in accord with "fair use" laws.
Click here to view this document as a PDF file: Death, Self, and Oneness in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi (October 31, 2016).
Or here to view this document as an HTM file: Death, Self, and Oneness in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi (October 31, 2016).
Or email eschwitz at domain: ucr.edu for a copy of this paper.
Return to Eric Schwitzgebel's homepage.