The Butterfly, the Mole and the Sage

Asian Philosophy 19 (3):213-223 (2011)
Zhuangzi chooses a butterfly as a metaphor for transformation, a sighted creature whose inherent nature contains, and symbolizes, the potential for transformation from a less valued state to a more valued state. If transformation is not to be valued; if, according to a recent article by Jung Lee, 'there is no implication that it is either possible or desirable for the living to awake from their dream', why not tell a story of a mole awakening from a dream? This would be a more perfect story. There would be no point of a mole awakening since (setting aside tactile, olfactory, auditory and taste sensations for the purpose of the example), there is no way to distinguish between the world of the mole's imagination and the real world that is forever unavailable to a mole. In addition, Zhuangzi relates the story of the coming of a great sage in which it is clearly stated that 'Only at the ultimate awakening shall we know that this is the ultimate dream'. Such textual evidence both from the choice of metaphors and evidential passages indicates that the message of the Zhuangzi is not epistemological relativity, but one of transformation from a state of intellectual blindness to a state of true understanding
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09552360903230747
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

32 ( #148,418 of 1,932,585 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #272,096 of 1,932,585 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.