Richard Kim and Justin Tiwald are pleased to present a new podcast series on Chinese Philosophy, This Is the Way. The administrators of Warp, Weft, and Way have generously agreed to host supporting materials and discussions of specific podcast episodes. Links to support pages for all published episodes can be found here.
The first episode is titled “Daoist Detachment.” In fact, it’s really just about the distinctive sort of detachment that seems to be at the heart of some (“core”) passages of the Zhuangzi. In this episode, Richard and Justin introduce themselves and talk about the motivation for the podcast series, the idea of “philosophical double-vision” that makes Zhuangzi-style detachment possible, and some worries about this sort of detachment. Below you will find a more detailed accounting of topics, some specific passages and books or articles mentioned in the episode, and an opportunity to “weigh in” and share your views about the topic (or about the hosts’ wild claims about the text).
Your feedback is very welcome! Please leave a comment below, mail the hosts at ChinesePhilosophyPodcast@gmail.com, or follow them on X @ChinesePhilPod.
SUNY Press has recently published Kuan-yun Huang’s new book A Walk in the Night with Zhuangzi: Musings on an Ancient Chinese Manuscript. In the book, Huang probes deeply into the manuscript in order to observe unappreciated aspects of many of the transmitted literary sources and come to a more definite conclusion about the text itself. Please click here for the publisher’s website and more information on the book itself.
I’d like to announce the publication of my new book Ziran: The Philosophy of Spontaneous Self-Causation. Targeted specifically at students, this book takes a key concept form early Chinese metaphysics—ziran 自然—and applies it to several fields of contemporary scholarship.
Springer has published the Dao Companion to the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi, edited by Kim-chong Chong. “It covers textual, linguistic, hermeneutical, ethical, social/political and philosophical issues, with the latter including epistemological, metaphysical, phenomenological and cross-cultural (Chinese and Western) aspects.”
A reviewer on Amazon warned “Only 34 of the 46 chapters are in the Kindle version.” Those interested might want to look into/verify this.
Karyn Lai’s article “Freedom and agency in the Zhuangzi: navigating life’s constraints” has been published in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy and is available Open Access here. The abstract follows.
Presenter: Stephen Walker (University of Chicago) Discussants: Timothy Connolly (East Stroudsburg University), Tao Jiang (Rutgers University), Qianyi Qin (CUNY Graduate Center), Hagop Sarkissian (CUNY Graduate Center & Baruch College)
ABSTRACT: This session will focus on the celebrated ‘Robber Zhi’ (盜跖) dialogue from the Miscellaneous Chapters (雜篇) of the Zhuangzi. In the dialogue, Kongzi (or Confucius) tries to persuade Robber Zhi to abandon his marauding ways and lead a more conventional life. While the character of Robber Zhi is obviously brutal, and a person few of us would want to emulate (or interact with in any way), he’s also strikingly insightful about human needs and frailties, and attentive to the more covert kinds of brutality we endure simply by living in organized societies. Not only does he raise the possibility that attempts to morally reform individuals might produce more harm than good, but he also embodies, in his own person, the pointlessness of making appeals to powerful persons who don’t value morality at all. The presenter will spend about 15 minutes summarizing the dialogue, and the discussants will spend about five minutes each raising points for discussion. The rest of the session will consist of Q&A. Those planning to attend are strongly encouraged to read the dialogue before the session begins. You can download a recent translation by Brook Ziporyn by clicking on this link.
Lin Ma and Jaap van Brakel, Beyond the Troubled Water of Shifei: From Disputation to Walking-Two-Roads in the Zhuangzi, SUNY Press, 2019, 283pp., $32.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781438474823.
Reviewed by Ricki Bliss, Lehigh University
Interpretation is always underdetermined and indeterminate. It is underdetermined by the data and it is indeterminate because meaning doesn’t allow it to be any other way. Interpretation is by no means a hopeless enterprise, however. Necessary conditions on the activity of interpretation are: (i) the assumption, on the part of the interpreter, of the family resemblance of forms of life; (ii) the assumption that all general concepts and conceptual schemes in all languages are family resemblance concepts; and (iii) a principle of mutual attunement.