Zhuang zi and his carving of the confucian ox

Philosophy East and West 47 (4):521-553 (1997)
Zhuang Zi's relation to the Confucian school is reexamined. It is argued that although Zhuang Zi was fond of highlighting the absurdities of the Confucian enterprise, we can nonetheless detect in his writings a great admiration for much of what constituted the central core of the Confucian vision. This essay analyzes Confucius' image of "musical perfection," representing the total concordance of ritual restraints and harmonious freedom; traces the Confucian notion of self-cultivation through Mencius' passage on the "full-flowing energy"; and concludes with an examination of Zhuang Zi's "Butcher Ding" story, showing that while Zhuang Zi's whole concept of self-nurturing is approached from a diametrically opposite angle, he nonetheless ends up celebrating a state of mastery and freedom in many ways identical to Confucius' notion of musical perfection
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    Tim Connolly (2011). Perspectivism as a Way of Knowing in the Zhuangzi. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 10 (4):487-505.
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