Dichotomies and Penumbrae: The Significance of Boundaries in Early Chinese Thinking

Dissertation, University of Hawai'i (2001)

Steve Coutinho
Muhlenberg College
This dissertation explores the conception of boundaries in early Daoist philosophy, and specifically in the Zhuangzi. I use as interpretive devices the western linguistic concepts of vagueness, open texture , and family resemblance, together with several western interpretive methodologies, to explore the significance of drawing boundaries and making distinctions---both linguistic and ontological. By contrasting the Daoist attitude that respects indeterminacy with the bivalent logical system of the later Mohist Canon I draw out significances of early Daoist philosophy that do not appear through the traditional interpretive lenses of skepticism and relativism
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