The editorial board of Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy has completed its annual selection of the best essay. The winner of 2012 Dao Annual Best Essay Award is given to
“Instruction Dialogues in the Zhuangzi: An `Anthropological’ Reading” by Carine Defoort (Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11:459-478)
Congratulations to Carine!
Below is the official citation:
This essay provides a fresh reading of the ancient Chinese Daoist classic Zhuangzi. While the author claims that it is a non-philosophical reading, it turns out to be a philosophical reading that is most appropriate to the Zhuangzi and perhaps many if not all other ancient Chinese classics. The Zhuangzi authors, just like many other classical Chinese philosophers, were not so much interested, if at all, in theory building as in transformation of the person. Through a focus on the formal characteristics of the dialogues, careful textual analyses, perceptive interpretations, and coherent arguments, Dr. Defoort convincingly shows that the instruction of the Zhuangzi’s masters hint at the importance of non-teaching in various senses; it also focuses on attitudes and skills (knowing how) rather than knowledge (knowing that). The essay thus breaks ground not only in our interpretation of the Zhuangzi but also in our understanding of philosophy per se. It is the type of work that Dao promotes.