Journal Article

Zhuangzi's Religious Ethics

Eske Møllgaard

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 71, issue 2, pages 347-370
Published in print June 2003 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Zhuangzi's Religious Ethics

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This article considers the ethics of the early Chinese thinker Zhuangzi. In both the Chinese tradition and among western sinologists the consensus is that Zhuangzi offers little in regard to ethics. It is often suggested that Zhuangzi relies on a kind of aesthetic perception to do the right thing in changing situations. The article argues, on the contrary, that Zhuangzi presents us with a genuinely religious ethics that is comparable to that of the Gospels. Furthermore, it is shown that Zhuangzi has his own moral imperative and that several important features of his ethics are comparable to Kant's moral picture. The article first explains Zhuangzi's critique of Traditionalist (Confucian) moralism; then it shows how Zhuangzi transcends the aesthetic point of view; finally, it compares Zhuangzi and Kant.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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