The Metaphysics and Unnamability of the Dao in the Daodejing and Wittgenstein

Philosophy East and West 67 (2):352-379 (2017)
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This essay is basically exegetical in nature, and its purpose is fourfold. First, I argue against the prevailing view that the dao 道 of the Daodejing 道德經 is metaphysically either a non-being or something transcending all senses by showing that it is a nonempty transforming unsummed totality.1 Dao is still metaphysical, but only as something that defies our ability to experience it as a totality or as any of its aspectual totalities.Second, I argue that in the Daodejing Laozi 老子 adopts the condition of naming that a sign becomes a name only if it can be used to describe what it signifies.2 Because none of the aspectual totalities of dao can be described, the naming condition is contravened, and thus dao and its...



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Leo Cheung
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Citations of this work

Understanding Dao in Methodological Terms.Xinkan Zhao - 2022 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (2):197-211.
The Wandering Heart-Mind: Zhuangzi and Moral Psychology in the Inner Chapters.Carl Joseph Helsing - 2019 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 18 (4):555-575.

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