Asian Philosophy 7 (3):207 – 220 (1997)

Chad Hansen is one of the strongest proponents of the view that the important second chapter of Zhuangzi's Inner Chapters (The Qi Wu Lun) reveals Zhuangzi to be a relativistic sceptidst. Hansen argues that Zhuangzi is a sceptic because he is first and foremost a relativist. Hansen's argument is essentially that Zhuangzi's perspectivism, his belief that one's linguistic and conceptual perspective determines what one claims to know, makes him a thorough going relativist and sceptic. I agree that Zhuangzi is a perspectivist, but disagree with Hansen's portrayal of him as a relativistic sceptic. I first show that there is an important ambiguity in Hansen's argument. I then proceed to argue that important passages in the Qi Wu Lun (in particular the butterfly dream passage,) reveal serious problems with Hansen's interpretation of Zhuangzi's philosophical stance, I maintain that Zhuangzi is neither a sceptic nor a perspectival relativist. He is rather a perspectival realist.
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DOI 10.1080/09552369708575464
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Morality.D. Z. Phillips & Gilbert Harman - 1978 - Philosophical Quarterly 28 (110):89.
Skeptical Strategies in the "Zhuangzi" and "Theaetetus".Lisa Raphals - 1994 - Philosophy East and West 44 (3):501-526.

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Citations of this work BETA

Interpreting the Butterfly Dream.Xiaoqiang Han - 2009 - Asian Philosophy 19 (1):1 – 9.
The Limit of Language in Daoism.Koji Tanaka - 2004 - Asian Philosophy 14 (2):191 – 205.
A Butterfly Dream in a Brain in a Vat.Xiaoqiang Han - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (1):157-167.
Critique of Imperial Reason: Lessons From the Zhuangzi.Dorothy H. B. Kwek - 2019 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 18 (3):411-433.

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