Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

The Value(?) of Philosophical Mindset


Just to pick up on–and to pick on a little bit–some comments in the previous thread:

Don’t there seem to be clear rejections of the value of the philosophical mindset in the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, assuming we can identify the mindset more or less clearly? It also seems like Confucius and Mencius rejected the inherent value of philosophical questioning and argument. Confucius’ love of “learning” (xue 學) is really about ritual, literary, musical, and moral-historical learning. Mencius only seems interested in philosophical thought to the extent that he feels the need to quell interest in Mohism and other movements that he finds calamitous. Maybe with the Neo-Confucians the “investigation of things” implies putting on a philosophical point of view–but even there I’m not so sure it isn’t just more of the type of learning that Confucius loved.

In short, aren’t the Daoist and Confucian traditions actually hostile to the kind of philosophical mindset that challenges and questions, analyzes and clarifies, and so forth? I suppose we could still be interested in Daoism and Confucianism from such a point of view–just like the analytic philosophical interest in the later Wittgenstein–but it all seems a bit perverse, no?

Author: Manyul Im

University of Bridgeport


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