Distorting the rule of seriousness: Laughter, Death, and friendship in the Zhuangzi

The main purpose of this article is to underline the crucial significance of laughter, a hitherto neglected matter in the study of the Zhuangzi. It aims to show that focusing on laughter is beneficial in order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of some of the most philosophically relevant problems in the Zhuangzi since a careful analysis of the role of laughter may reveal a great deal of debate concerning such issues as life, death, friendship, social relations, and ritual in this text. This article discusses then the positive role that laughter plays in the Zhuangzi in contexts traditionally governed by the rules of seriousness, formality, and circumspection, from both an anthropological and a philosophical perspective
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-008-9098-1
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