“It Goes beyond Skill”

Dan Robins

in Ethics in Early China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028931
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209800 | DOI:
“It Goes beyond Skill”

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In early Chinese discourse, a dào was most often a norm-governed way of doing something, such as filling a role, engaging in an activity, or achieving some goal. The dào promoted by the various masters were of this sort, for example. But there are also texts according to which dào is prior to and gives rise to the cosmos. For example, Book 6 of the Zhuāngzǐ tells us that “dào . . .[is] from the basis, from the root, when there were not yet heaven and earth, since ancient times it has persisted . . . it produces heaven and produces earth” (Zhuāngzǐ 6:230/81). The aim of this chapter is to give an account of how these two uses of the term “dào” relate, and of what it might mean for ways of acting to give rise to the cosmos.

Keywords: dào; cosmos; Zhuāngzǐ; heaven; earth

Chapter.  8930 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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