Category Archives: Zhuangzi

Conference in Taipei: “Phenomenology and Chinese Philosophy” (March 18-20)

Dear colleagues,

this is to inform you about the international conference “Selfhood, Otherness, and Cultivation. Phenomenology and Chinese Philosophy” (March 18-20, at National Chengchi University in Taipei). You can still register on our website which also contains many helpful information (list of speakers, abstracts, etc.). The conference is co-hosted by the philosophy department and the interdisciplinary “Research Center on Chinese Cultural Subjectivity in Taiwan” at National Chengchi University. Our guest of honor is Dan Zahavi (Kopenhagen/Oxford) who, besides participating in our conference, will also give a series of lectures next week (see here).

Kai Marchal




Article of Interest: “Indeterminate self: Subjectivity, body and politics in Zhuangzi” by Peng Yu

Yu, Peng. “Indeterminate Self: Subjectivity, Body and Politics in Zhuangzi.” Philosophy & Social Criticism, (January 2019). doi:10.1177/0191453718820900.

To see the full article please click here.

Continue reading →

Blake Reviews Moeller and D’Ambrosio, Genuine Pretending

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

2018.06.18 View this Review Online   View Other NDPR Reviews

Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D’Ambrosio, Genuine Pretending: On the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi, Columbia University Press, 2017, 221 pp., $35.00, ISBN 9780231183994.

Reviewed by Susan Blake, Bard College

“A romp through ‘the vast wilds of open nowhere'” — Roger Ebert

“Better than any existing work on humor” — Aristotle

“Nothing more than a success” — Guy Smiley

“A demonstration of nothing . . . in a technical sense” — Ford Prefect

“A tour de force through the ‘homeland of non-even-anything'” — Steven Colbert

This book presents a novel reading of the Zhuangzi that illuminates its humor and presents it as responding to philosophical concerns of its day. To the extent that these philosophical concerns are also those of the present day — the search for a sane and healthy response to the impossible demands of sincerity — we can, through the discussion here, gain an understanding of an alternative to the unsatisfying ethical approaches of both sincerity and authenticity. The book is impressive in bringing together diverse passages in this difficult text under one interpretation.

Continue reading →

Moeller and D’Ambrosio Lecture at Ghent University

Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D’Ambrosio will be giving a lecture on their new book
on the philosophy of the Zhuangzi at Ghent University on June 1, 2018. The lecture is entitled
Genuine Pretending: A Daoist Mode of Existence”.

Venue: Ghent University, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Campus Boekentoren (Blandijnberg 2), Ghent (Belgium), 5th floor, room 150.018. Time: 14.00 – 15.30. The poster is available here.

For any additional information, please mail to

JHI Blog Entry on Heidegger and Zhuangzi

Dag Herbjørnsrud has written a fascinating entry at the Journal of the History of Idea blog, which begins as follows…

A remarkable example of how ideas migrate across so-called cultural borders and change minds in unknown ways happened in the German city of Bremen on October 8, 1930. There, Martin Heidegger gave a speech based upon his masterwork Being and Time (1927). Afterwards, he and several of Bremen’s citizens gathered at the home of a wholesaler. During the evening, Heidegger suddenly turned to his host and asked, “Mister Kellner, would you please bring me the Parables of Zhuangzi? I would like to read some passages from it.”

Alexus McLeod – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts”, Dec. 2 @ 5:30pm


Welcomes: ALEXUS MCLEOD (University of Connecticut)
With responses from: ANDREW MEYER (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2nd at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

The Madman of Chu: The Problem of Mental Illness and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts

ABSTRACT: In Confucian and Zhuangist texts of the Pre-Han and Han period, we see characters described as “crazy, mad” (狂 kuang), and find descriptions or discussions of madness or mad persons—most prominently the infamous Jieyu, “Madman of Chu”. I argue that madness is seen by Confucians and Zhuangists as a kind of moral deformity that moves one outside of the boundaries of ritual and society and thus full personhood—a fact that leads the Confucians to shun mad people, and the Zhuangist to praise them.  Madness is seen not as a 病 bing (disorder, illness), but instead as based on a cultivated choice.   Continue reading →

Eric Schwitzgebel – Columbia Society for Comparative Philosophy Lecture: “Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”, THURSDAY Oct.13 @ 5:30pm


Welcomes: ERIC SCHWITZGEBEL (University of California Riverside)
With responses from: CHRISTOPHER GOWANS (Fordham University)

Please join us at Columbia University’s Religion Department on *THURSDAY*, OCTOBER 13th at 5:30PM for his lecture entitled:

“Death and Self in the Incomprehensible Zhuangzi”

ABSTRACT: The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi defies 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. 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.  In this talk, I will look at Zhuangzi’s inconsistent remarks about death and the self. Continue reading →