Article

Daoism and Philosophy

Jung Lee

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online January 2018 | | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0360
Daoism and Philosophy

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Epistemology
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Non-Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Social and Political Philosophy

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Along with Confucianism, Daoism represents one of the major indigenous philosophical and religious traditions of China. Although we can trace the origins of Daoism to the 4th century bce, the term “Daoism” (daojia 道家, lit. “family of the Way”) only gained currency during the Western Han (206 bce–6 ce) when the neologism was coined by the historian Sima Tan 司馬談 (d. 110 bce) in his “Essentials of the Six Schools” (liujia zhi yaozhi 六家之要指), long after the introduction of such foundational texts as the Laozi 老子and Zhuangzi 莊子. Having said that, we can note certain family resemblances among textual sources and master-disciple lineages during the pre-Han period that point to shared views on the cosmology of the Way (dao 道, lit. “road” or “path”), the ultimate metaphysical force in the cosmos, and self-cultivation practices or “techniques of the Way” (dao shu 道術) that would enable the adept to attune or merge with the Way and lead a more realized life. It is the presence of these “techniques of the Way” that led Sima Tan to label certain individual “experts” and practitioners “Daoists.” Toward the end of the Eastern Han in 142 ce, we witness the beginnings of Daoism as an organized, institutional religion with the founding of the Way of the Celestial Masters (tian shi dao 天師道) and then later with the emergence of subsequent religious communities like the Shangqing 上清 or Highest Clarity and Quanzhen 全真 or Complete Perfection. Although there has been an historical proclivity, now less pronounced, on the part of some Chinese scholars and Western sinologists to bifurcate Daoism into “philosophical Daoism” and “religious Daoism,” the distinction needlessly essentializes aspects of Daoism and ignores the complex process of poetic influence and conceptual appropriation within the tradition. With this in mind, this entry will focus on selections that highlight the philosophical dimensions of the Daoist tradition, beginning with a section on Daoism in the context of early Chinese philosophy along with dedicated sections on the Laozi and Zhuangzi. The rest of the entry will be organized into topics that address particular aspects of Daoist philosophy, including epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, social and political philosophy, and comparative studies.

Article.  9022 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or purchase to access all content.