Effortless Action

Author: Edward Slingerland
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199874576
Size: 74.34 MB
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This book presents a systematic account of the role of the personal spiritual ideal of wu-wei--literally "no doing," but better rendered as "effortless action"--in early Chinese thought. Edward Slingerland's analysis shows that wu-wei represents the most general of a set of conceptual metaphors having to do with a state of effortless ease and unself-consciousness. This concept of effortlessness, he contends, serves as a common ideal for both Daoist and Confucian thinkers. He also argues that this concept contains within itself a conceptual tension that motivates the development of early Chinese thought: the so-called "paradox of wu-wei," or the question of how one can consciously "try not to try." Methodologically, this book represents a preliminary attempt to apply the contemporary theory of conceptual metaphor to the study of early Chinese thought. Although the focus is upon early China, both the subject matter and methodology have wider implications. The subject of wu-wei is relevant to anyone interested in later East Asian religious thought or in the so-called "virtue-ethics" tradition in the West. Moreover, the technique of conceptual metaphor analysis--along with the principle of "embodied realism" upon which it is based--provides an exciting new theoretical framework and methodological tool for the study of comparative thought, comparative religion, intellectual history, and even the humanities in general. Part of the purpose of this work is thus to help introduce scholars in the humanities and social sciences to this methodology, and provide an example of how it may be applied to a particular sub-field.

A Daoist Theory Of Chinese Thought

Author: Chad Hansen
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195134192
Size: 64.95 MB
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This ambitious book presents a new interpretation of Chinese thought guided both by a philosopher's sense of mystery and by a sound philosophical theory of meaning. That dual goal, Hansen argues, requires a unified translation theory. It must provide a single coherent account of the issues that motivated both the recently untangled Chinese linguistic analysis and the familiar moral-political disputes. Hansen's unified approach uncovers a philosophical sophistication in Daoism that traditional accounts have overlooked.

Trying Not To Try

Author: Edward Slingerland
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 0770437621
Size: 17.35 MB
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A deeply original exploration of the power of spontaneity—an ancient Chinese ideal that cognitive scientists are only now beginning to understand—and why it is so essential to our well-being Why is it always hard to fall asleep the night before an important meeting? Or be charming and relaxed on a first date? What is it about a politician who seems wooden or a comedian whose jokes fall flat or an athlete who chokes? In all of these cases, striving seems to backfire. In Trying Not To Try, Edward Slingerland explains why we find spontaneity so elusive, and shows how early Chinese thought points the way to happier, more authentic lives. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. But recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly. The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). They believed it was the source of all success in life, and they developed various strategies for getting it and hanging on to it. With clarity and wit, Slingerland introduces us to these thinkers and the marvelous characters in their texts, from the butcher whose blade glides effortlessly through an ox to the wood carver who sees his sculpture simply emerge from a solid block. Slingerland uncovers a direct line from wu-wei to the Force in Star Wars, explains why wu-wei is more powerful than flow, and tells us what it all means for getting a date. He also shows how new research reveals what’s happening in the brain when we’re in a state of wu-wei—why it makes us happy and effective and trustworthy, and how it might have even made civilization possible. Through stories of mythical creatures and drunken cart riders, jazz musicians and Japanese motorcycle gangs, Slingerland effortlessly blends Eastern thought and cutting-edge science to show us how we can live more fulfilling lives. Trying Not To Try is mind-expanding and deeply pleasurable, the perfect antidote to our striving modern culture. From the Hardcover edition.

Readings In Han Chinese Thought

Author: Mark Csikszentmihalyi
Publisher: Hackett Publishing
ISBN: 1603843485
Size: 77.17 MB
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The first comprehensive English-language collection of the writings of this pivotal period in Chinese intellectual history, this volume provides translations of key works, arranged chronologically within topics, and accompanied by substantive headnotes, a glossary, and a bibliography.

Religious And Philosophical Aspects Of The Laozi

Author: Mark Csikszentmihalyi
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780791441121
Size: 28.47 MB
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Leading scholars examine religious and philosophical dimensions of the Chinese classic known as the Daodejing or Laozi.

Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy

Author: Stephen C. Angle
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 074566153X
Size: 14.95 MB
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Confucian political philosophy has recently emerged as a vibrant area of thought both in China and around the globe. This book provides an accessible introduction to the main perspectives and topics being debated today, and shows why Progressive Confucianism is a particularly promising approach. Students of political theory or contemporary politics will learn that far from being confined to a museum, contemporary Confucianism is both responding to current challenges and offering insights from which we can all learn. The Progressive Confucianism defended here takes key ideas of the twentieth-century Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909-1995) as its point of departure for exploring issues like political authority and legitimacy, the rule of law, human rights, civility, and social justice. The result is anti-authoritarian without abandoning the ideas of virtue and harmony; it preserves the key values Confucians find in ritual and hierarchy without giving in to oppression or domination. A central goal of the book is to present Progressive Confucianism in such a way as to make its insights manifest to non-Confucians, be they philosophers or simply citizens interested in the potential contributions of Chinese thinking to our emerging, shared world.

What Science Offers The Humanities

Author: Edward Slingerland
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139470361
Size: 62.93 MB
Format: PDF
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What Science Offers the Humanities examines some of the deep problems facing the study of culture. It focuses on the excesses of postmodernism, but also acknowledges serious problems with postmodernism's harshest critics. In short, Edward Slingerland argues that in order for the humanities to progress, its scholars need to take seriously contributions from the natural sciences - and particular research on human cognition - which demonstrate that any separation of the mind and the body is entirely untenable. The author provides suggestions for how humanists might begin to utilize these scientific discoveries without conceding that science has the last word on morality, religion, art, and literature. Calling into question such deeply entrenched dogmas as the 'blank slate' theory of nature, strong social constructivism, and the ideal of disembodied reason, What Science Offers the Humanities replaces the human-sciences divide with a more integrated approach to the study of culture.

Wandering At Ease In The Zhuangzi

Author: Roger T. Ames
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791494713
Size: 62.83 MB
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Chinese philosophy specialists examine the Zhuangzi, a third century B.C.E. Daoist classic, in this collection of interpretive essays. The Zhuangzi is a celebration of human creativity -- its language is lucid and opaque; its images are darkly brilliant; its ideas are playful. Without question, it is one of the most challenging achievements of human literary culture. Thematically, the Zhuangzi offers diverse insights into how to develop an appropriate and productive attitude to one's life in this world. Resourced over the centuries by Chinese artists and intellectuals alike, this text has provoked a commentarial tradition that rivals any masterpiece of world literature. Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi continues the interpretive tradition as Western scholars shed light on selected passages from the difficult text, offering the needed mediation between available translations of the Zhuangzi and the reader's process of understanding. Taken as a whole, this anthology is a primer on how to read the Zhuangzi.

Creating Consilience

Author: Edward Slingerland
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0199794391
Size: 15.82 MB
Format: PDF
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Calls for a "consilient" or "vertically integrated" approach to the study of human mind and culture have, for the most part, been received by scholars in the humanities with either indifference or hostility. One reason for this is that consilience has often been framed as bringing the study of humanistic issues into line with the study of non-human phenomena, rather than as something to which humanists and scientists contribute equally. The other major reason that consilience has yet to catch on in the humanities is a dearth of compelling examples of the benefits of adopting a consilient approach. Creating Consilience is the product of a workshop that brought together internationally-renowned scholars from a variety of fields to address both of these issues. It includes representative pieces from workshop speakers and participants that examine how adopting such a consilient stance -- informed by cognitive science and grounded in evolutionary theory -- would concretely impact specific topics in the humanities, examining each topic in a manner that not only cuts across the humanities-natural science divide, but also across individual humanistic disciplines. By taking seriously the fact that science-humanities integration is a two-way exchange, this volume takes a new approach to bridging the cultures of science and the humanities. The editors and contributors formulate how to develop a new shared framework of consilience beyond mere interdisciplinarity, in a way that both sides can accept.