Asian Philosophy 24 (3):212-226 (2014)

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Critical readers can reasonably judge Zhuangzi’s 莊子 notion of wuwei 無爲 to offer a persuasive reply to Xunzi’s objection to Zhuangzi’s emphasis on living naturally, in light of recent theories of action. For Zhuangzi, self-cultivation is possible only when individuals attune themselves to the processes inherent in nature . Daoist wuwei depends crucially on two descriptive claims that Zhuangzi endorses and Xunzi rejects. The first claim, backed by Dreyfus’ theory of skill acquisition, is that views of self-cultivation which rely on formulas and concepts stand opposed to the Way. The second claim, supported by Elster and Csikszentmihalyi’s theories of action, is that conscious deliberation is unable to facilitate self-cultivation. Zhuangzi’s normative vision requires that individuals indirectly create conditions for spontaneity, rather than pursue spontaneity directly, since any deliberate attempt at being spontaneous is self-defeating
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DOI 10.1080/09552367.2014.952174
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Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality.Jon Elster - 1983 - Editions De La Maison des Sciences De L'Homme.

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