Asian Philosophy 20 (1):43 – 66 (2010)
|Abstract||This article explains Zhuangzi's philosophy by analyzing the metaphor of the potter's wheel. I argue that this is one of the central images in the core chapters of the _Zhuangzi_. Together with two cognate images, it not only appears in some crucial passages, but also allows us to integrate a variety of seemingly independent topics. The article consists of four sections. I start by placing the potter's wheel against a background of other artisan tools. A second section focuses on three major themes revolving around the image of the potter's wheel in the _Zhuangzi_: stillness of mind, flexibility in response, and harmonizing and living out one's years. A third section discusses the negative portrayal of measurement tools in the _Zhuangzi_. In an afterword, I summarize the findings and revisit some methodological issues. The study shows that concrete images such as artisan tools may provide important clues for interpreting philosophical texts|
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