A Different Type of Individualism in Zhuangzi

Individualism is not only a Western tradition. In the Zhuangzi we can also identify some elements which may be appropriately attributed to “individualism.” However, due to its particular cultural and philosophical background, Zhuangzian individualism has unique characteristics, which distinguish it from the variety of other individualist thoughts that have emerged in the West. Zhuangzi has a dynamic and open view on individual “self,” considering individuals as changing and unique beings rather than fixed and interchangeable “atoms”; he sets the unlimited Dao as the ultimate source for individuals to conform to, thus releasing individual mind into a realm of infinite openness and freedom. The Zhuangzian individualism is “inward” rather than “outward,” concentrating on individual spirit rather than material interests and rights in social reality. The individualism in the Zhuangzi provides a spiritual space for the development of individuality in ancient China. It also provides an alternative understanding of individual as an existence
Keywords Individualism  Zhuangzi  Daoism
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-011-9244-z
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References found in this work BETA
Chad Hansen (1985). Individualism in Chinese Thought. In Donald J. Munro (ed.), Individualism and Holism: Studies in Confucian and Taoist Values. Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan 35--56.

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