Wu-Wei and the Decentering of the Subject in Lao-Zhuang: An Alternative Approach in the Philosophy of Religion

International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (4):445-457 (2006)
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Abstract

This essay attempts to provide an alternative approach to the philosophy of religion through a new interpretation of Daoist philosophy in light of Husserl’s phenomenology. I argue that Lao-Zhuang’s wu-wei should be understood as a reduction of our existential and conceptual beliefs about the reality of this world. In Lao-Zhuang, wu-wei is related to the theme of decentering of the subject. In order to be a true self, we have to make space at the core of our being for Dao to appear. The authentic selfhood is constituted in its correctrelation to Dao. In Daoist philosophy of religion, the center of gravity in the relation between Dao and the world is shifted from this world to Dao, and the problematic in the philosophy of religion is displaced from a truth-oriented issue to a receptivity issue.

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Changchi Hao
Wuhan University

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