Composed more than 2,000 years ago during a turbulent period of Chinese history, the Dao de jing set forth an alternative vision of reality in a world torn apart by violence and betrayal. Daoism, as this subtle but enduring philosophy came to be known, offers a comprehensive view of experience grounded in a full understanding of the wonders hidden in the ordinary. Now in this luminous new translation, based on the recently discovered ancient bamboo scrolls, China scholars Roger T. Ames (...) and David L. Hall bring the timeless wisdom of the Dao de jing into our contemporary world. Though attributed to Laozi, “the Old Master,” the Dao de jing is, in fact, of unknown authorship and may well have originated in an oral tradition four hundred years before the time of Christ. Eschewing philosophical dogma, the Dao de jing set forth a series of maxims that outlined a new perspective on reality and invited readers to embark on a regimen of self-cultivation. In the Daoist world view, each particular element in our experience sends out an endless series of ripples throughout the cosmos. The unstated goal of the Dao de jing is self-transformation–the attainment of personal excellence that flows from the world and back into it. Responding to the teachings of Confucius, the Dao de jing revitalizes moral behavior by recommending a spontaneity made possible by the cultivated “habits” of the individual. In this elegant volume, Ames and Hall feature the original Chinese texts of the Dao de jing and translate them into crisp, chiseled English that reads like poetry. Each of the eighty-one brief chapters is followed by clear, thought-provoking commentary exploring the layers of meaning in the text. The book’s extensive introduction is a model of accessible scholarship in which Ames and Hall consider the origin of the text, place the emergence of Daoist philosophy in its historical and political context, and outline its central tenets. The Dao de jing is a work of timeless wisdom and beauty, as vital today as it was in ancient China. This new version will stand as both a compelling introduction to the complexities of Daoist thought and as the classic modern English translation. (shrink)
This book broadens the inquiry into emotion to comprehend a comparative cultural outlook. It begins with an overview of recent work in the West, and then proceeds to the main business of scrutinizing various relevant issues from both Asian and comparative perspectives. Original essays by experts in the field. Finally, Robert Solomon comments and summarizes.
However much the Catholic Church may wish to free the peoples of the world from the excessive atheistic rationalism of the Englihtenment that has pitted science against religion, it is still in most other ways solidly on the side of modernity.Centesimus Annus endorses aform of democracy, akind of capitalism, asort of technological development, all of which are strongly undergirded by a resolute belief in human beings as rights-bearing individuals possessed of individual autonomy and a legitimate appetite for private property. The (...) themes of liberal democracy, capitalist free enterprise, and the proliferation of rational technologies form the common focus of both the Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment sensibilities.From a Chinese perspective, these culturally alien themes are viewed with suspicion. The Chinese are increasingly troubled by the corrosive effects upon their culture and social fabric associated with and embedded in the modernizing impulse. But, for a variety of reasons, it certainly seems that China will have little choice but to accommodate modernity in some sense, whatever the risks. The serious question is: Will China remainChinese under the conditions of modernization? (shrink)
The problems of environmental ethics are so basic that the exploration of an alternative metaphysics or attendant ethical theory is not a sufficiently radical solution. In fact, the assumptions entailed in adefinition of systematic philosophy that gives us a tradition of metaphysics might themselves be the source of the current crisis. We might need to revision the responsibilities of the philosopher and think in terms of the artist rather than the “scientific of first principles.” Taoism proceeds from art rather than (...) science, and produces an ars contextualis: generalizations drawn from human experience in the most basic processes of making aperson, making a community and making a world. This idea of an “aesthetic cosmology” is one basis for redefining the nature of the relatedness that obtains between particular and world-between tao and te. (shrink)