Guo Xiang on Self-so Knowledge

Asian Philosophy 26 (2):119-132 (2016)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTThe perspective on zhi 知 is often identified as a key distinction between the Zhuangzi 莊子 and its most famous commentator, Guo Xiang 郭象. Many scholars who recognize this distinction observe that zhi almost always has negative connotations in Guo Xiang’s writing, whereas certain types of knowledge can be positive in the Zhuangzi In this way, Guo Xiang’s comments on zhi seem to stray from the ‘original meaning’ of the Zhuangzi, and are often dismissed as inaccurate mis-readings, imbued with mysticism and relativism. However, by taking into consideration some aspects of Guo Xiang’s socio-historical context, and the larger structure of his complex philosophical system, we find a project quite distinct from that of the Zhuangzi. Like many other Wei-Jin period thinkers, Guo aims bridging some of the gaps the Daoist classic creates between itself and the Confucian tradition. This exposes Guo Xiang’s first goal, which,...

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