International Philosophical Quarterly 45 (3):327-340 (2005)
This paper examines the idea of “following nature” in two classical Chinese thinkers, Mengzi and Zhuangzi. The goal is to complicate appeals to “following nature” in Asian thought and to problematize the very imposition of the concept “nature” on Zhuangzi and Mengzi. The paper begins by establishing some common ground between Mengzi and Zhuangzi, based on two points—both view harmony with tian (heaven/nature) as a primary aspect of living well, and both require a process of self-transformation to reach this harmony. The second part of the paper argues that Mengzi and Zhuangzi give different answers to a similar question. That question is, what does it means to follow or be in harmony with tian? The essay concludes with some reflections on how “following nature” in Zhuangzi and Mengzi might apply to environmental ethics
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