Sorrow and the Sage: Grief in the zhuangzi

Authors
Amy Olberding
University of Oklahoma
Abstract
The Zhuangzi offers two apparently incompatible models of bereavement. Zhuangzi sometimes suggests that the sage will greet loss with unfractured equanimity and even aplomb. However, upon the death of his own wife, Zhuangzi evinces a sorrow that, albeit brief, fits ill with this suggestion. In this essay, I contend that the grief that Zhuangzi displays at his wife’s death better honors wider values averred elsewhere in the text and, more generally, that a sage who retains a capacity for sorrow will be better positioned for the robust joy so often identified as central to the Zhuangzi’s vision of flourishing. The sagely figures who entirely forego sorrow, I argue, achieve equanimity only through a sacrifice of the emotional range and responsiveness necessary not only for grief but also for the delight Zhuangzi recommends
Keywords Death  Grief  Zhuangzi  Mourning  Ethics  Emotion  Daoism
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-007-9020-2
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References found in this work BETA

The Therapy of Desire.Martha Nussbaum - 1994 - Princeton University Press.
Learning From Asian Philosophy.Joel J. Kupperman - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters.Ted Cohen - 2001 - University of Chicago Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Wandering the Way: A Eudaimonistic Approach to the Zhuāngzǐ.Chris Fraser - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (4):541-565.
“Emotions That Do Not Move”: Zhuangzi and Stoics on Self-Emerging Feelings.David Machek - 2015 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (4):521-544.
Emotion and Agency in Zhuāngz.Chris Fraser - 2011 - Asian Philosophy 21 (1):97-121.
The Zhuangist Views on Emotions.Songyao Ren - 2018 - Asian Philosophy 28 (1):55-67.
Undermining the Person, Undermining the Establishment in the Zhuangzi.Sonya Özbey - 2018 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 10 (2):123-139.

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