Journal of Chinese Philosophy 41 (3-4):307-327 (2014)

Eric S. Nelson
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
I consider the intertextuality between Chinese and Western thought by exploring how images, metaphors, and ideas from the texts associated with Zhuangzi and Laozi were appropriated in early twentieth-century German philosophy. This interest in “Lao-Zhuang Daoism” encompasses a diverse range of thinkers including Buber and Heidegger. I examine how the problematization of utility, usefulness, and “purposiveness” in Zhuangzi and Laozi becomes a key point for their German philosophical reception; how it is the poetic character of the Zhuangzi that hints at an appropriate response to the crisis and loss of meaning that characterizes technological modernity and its instrumental technological rationality; that is, how the “poetic” and “spiritual” world perceived in Lao-Zhuang thought became part of Buber's and Heidegger's critical encounter and confrontation with technological modernity; and how their concern with Zhuangzi does not signify a return to a dogmatic religiosity or otherworldly mysticism; it anticipates a this-worldly spiritual or poetic way of dwelling immanently within the world.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1540-6253.12118
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Lao-Zhuang and Heidegger on Nature and Technology.Graham Parkes - 2003 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30 (1):19–38.
The Reevaluation of Zhuangzi.Yan Beiming - 1981 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 12 (4):63-89.
In the Event of Words: Art, Technology, and Language in the Later Heidegger.William Park Vaughan - 1992 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
What’s in a Dao?: Ontology and Semiotics in Laozi and Zhuangzi.Daniel Fried - 2012 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (4):419-436.
Polemos and Dao: Conflict and Harmony in Heidegger and Zhuangzi.Steven Burik - 2015 - In Aaron Creller (ed.), Conflict and Harmony in Comparative Philosophy.
The Place of Tradition: Heidegger and Benjamin on Technology and Art.Janet Donohoe - 2008 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 39 (3):226-227-260-274.
Ju Xi and Zhuang Zi's Doctrine.Chun-hai Tseng - 2011 - Philosophy and Culture 38 (6):109-124.
The Huang-Lao School.Guo Zhanbo - 2002 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 34 (1):19-36.
The Poet's Place in Modernity: Heidegger, Eliot and Pound.Jonathan R. Derr - 2002 - Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago


Added to PP index

Total views
344 ( #29,917 of 2,505,219 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
92 ( #8,210 of 2,505,219 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes