What is nature? – ziran in early Daoist thinking

Asian Philosophy 26 (3):265-279 (2016)

Jing Liu
Nankai University
ABSTRACTThe question of the relation between humans and nature lies at the foundation of any philosophy. With the daily worsening environmental crisis, we are forced to face this ancient question again. Yet when we put it into the form of ‘humans and nature’, a metaphysics is already implied and the problem of nature has not yet been questioned. At this moment, the very question that needs to be put forward is, ‘What is nature’? The question of nature will be interrogated through a comparative view in this essay. First, I argue the modern understanding of nature lies at the root of today’s environmental problems. Then, I go back to early Daoism to explore Daoist thinking on ziran. The meaning of ‘dao emulates ziran’ is brought to light through a detailed interpretation of the ziran of dao and things. Ziran penetrates the dao, the heavenly, the earthly and the human. It is with the understanding of ziran that the nature of humans and all things are illuminated. Heidegger’s...
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2016.1215060
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References found in this work BETA

The Death of Nature.Carolyn Merchant - forthcoming - Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology.
Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary.Roger T. Ames - 2011 - The Chinese University Press.
Introduction to Metaphysics.Martin Heidegger - 2000 - Yale University Press.
The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and Scientific Revolution.Carolyn Merchant - 1981 - Journal of the History of Biology 14 (2):356-357.

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