Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37 (2):312-329 (2010)

Authors
Hagop Sarkissian
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
The Primitivist (responsible for chapters 8-11 of the heterogeneous Zhuangzi) has largely been interpreted as just another exponent of the philosophy of the Laozi or Daodejing. This is a shame, because the Primitivist is an idiosyncratic thinker whose theories do not simply reiterate those found in the Laozi. In this essay, I argue that even though the Primitivist embraced some of the values of the Laozi’s brand of Daoism, (e.g. simplicity, harmony with nature, being rid of knowledge, etc.) he would have censured its prescriptions; he had little faith that order could be achieved through an emphasis on minimalism, by doing nothing, or by advocating a change (or reversal) in values. Instead, the Primitivist suggests that the only way to curb the massive disorder of the late Warring States period was to purge the world of its root causes—namely, of all the artifice that kept the masses in competitive, violent strife—and suppress their reappearance. Without such a purge, the masses would be helpless to lead a natural, instinctual, pre-reflective mode of existence. By advocating such a strategy, the Primitivist seems to have membership in what must be a very exclusive group: he is a Daoist who thinks the world can only be brought into order by doing something—indeed, doing a whole lot of unpleasant, nasty things. I thus situate the Primitivist within the trend toward authoritarianism that characterized the period in which he wrote (3rd century BCE).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1540-6253.2010.01585.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Supervenience for Operators.John Divers - 1996 - Synthese 106 (1):103-12.
The Immortal World.Sung-Hae Kim - 2008 - Environmental Ethics 30 (2):135-157.
Preserving One's Nature: Primitivist Daoism and Human Rights.L. E. E. H. - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (4):597–612.
Is Daoism 'Green'?David E. Cooper - 1994 - Asian Philosophy 4 (2):119 – 125.
Preserving One's Nature: Primitivist Daoism and Human Rights.Jung H. Lee - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (4):597-612.
Explicating Truth: Minimalism and Primitivism. [REVIEW]Dirk Greimann - 2000 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 31 (1):133-155.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-05-04

Total views
155 ( #58,392 of 2,348,444 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #57,235 of 2,348,444 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes