Philosophy and the Good Life in the Zhuangzi

Metaphilosophy 51 (2-3):187-205 (2020)
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The ancient Chinese text the Zhuangzi raises a mix of epistemological, psychological, and conceptual challenges against the value and usefulness of philosophical disputation. But instead of advocating the elimination of philosophy, it implicitly embraces a broader conception of philosophy, the goal of which is to engage us to reflect on our limitations, question things we take for granted, and better appreciate alternative perspectives and possibilities. Philosophy thus understood is compatible with a variety of methods and approaches: fictions, jokes, paradoxes, spiritual exercises, argument, disputation, and so on. Philosophical practices, on this view, also pave the way for an open‐minded, adaptive and flexible way of living that is at the core of the Zhuangist good life.



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Pengbo Liu
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Citations of this work

Freedom and agency in the Zhuangzi: navigating life’s constraints.Karyn Lai - 2021 - Tandf: British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-21.
Freedom and agency in the Zhuangzi: navigating life’s constraints.Karyn Lai - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (1):3-23.
Zhuangzi and perspectival humility.Sun Tik Wong - 2023 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 55 (2):169-181.

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On being attached.Monique Lisa Wonderly - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):223-242.
The Toils of Scepticism.Jonathan Barnes - 1991 - Phronesis 36 (3):313-318.

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