The Penumbra Unbound: The Neo-Taoist Philosophy of Guo Xiang

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SUNY Press, Mar 17, 2003 - Philosophy - 186 pages
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The Penumbra Unbound is the first English language book-length study of the Neo-Taoist thinker Guo Xiang (d. 312 C.E.), commentator on the classic Taoist text, the Zhuangzi. The author explores Guo’s philosophy of freedom and spontaneity, explains its coherence and importance, and shows its influence on later Chinese philosophy, particularly Chan Buddhism. The implications of his thought on freedom versus determinism are also considered in comparison to several positions advanced in the history of Western philosophy, notably those of Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, Fichte, and Hegel. Guo’s thought reinterprets the classical pronouncements about the Tao so that it in no way signifies any kind of metaphysical absolute underlying appearances, but rather means literally “nothing.” This absence of anything beyond appearances is the first premise in Guo’s development of a theory of radical freedom, one in which all phenomenal things are “self-so,” creating and transforming themselves without depending on any justification beyond their own temporary being.
 

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Contents

The Classical Chinese Philosophical Background
5
An Overview of Guo Xiangs Philosophical Project
17
The Problem of Spontaneity and Morality in Earlier Xuanxue
23
The Image of Traces
31
Vanishing Into Things
65
The Unification of Independence and Interdependence
85
LoneTransformation
99
The Inherency of Change and
143
Comparative Notes on Freedom and Determinism
149
Notes
161
Bibliography
179
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About the author (2003)

Brook Ziporyn is Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Northwestern University.

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