The Animal and the Daemon in Early China

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SUNY Press, Apr 25, 2002 - Philosophy - 375 pages
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Exploring the cultural perception of animals in early Chinese thought, this careful reading of Warring States and Han dynasty writings analyzes how views of animals were linked to human self perception and investigates the role of the animal world in the conception of ideals of sagehood and socio-political authority. Roel Sterckx shows how perceptions of the animal world influenced early Chinese views of man's place among the living species and in the world at large. He argues that the classic Chinese perception of the world did not insist on clear categorical or ontological boundaries between animals, humans, and other creatures such as ghosts and spirits. Instead the animal realm was positioned as part of an organic whole and the mutual relationships among the living species - both as natural and cultural creatures - were characterized as contingent, continuous, and interdependent.
 

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Contents

Contextualizing Animals
1
The Animal and the Daemon
5
Animals as Images
8
Defining Animals
15
Problems of Definition
16
Animals in Texts
21
Naming Animals and Animal Names
29
Conclusion
42
The Transformation of Animals through Virtue
137
Moral Hybrids
153
Speaking with Birds and Beasts
158
Conclusion
162
Changing Animals
165
A Cosmogony of Change
167
Demonic Transformations
171
Functional Metamorphosis
173

Animals and Officers
45
Managing Animals
46
Ritual Animals
56
Animals and Spirits
61
Calendrical Animals
64
Conclusion
67
Categorizing Animals
69
Qi and Blood
73
Correlative Taxonomies
78
Toward a Moral Taxonomy
88
Conclusion
91
The Animal and Territory
93
Animal Patterns as Social Patterns
96
Animals and Territory
101
Animals beyond Territory
110
Conclusion
122
Transforming the Beasts
123
Animals and the Origins of Music
124
Animals Music and Moral Transformation
129
Autonomous Transformations
177
Symbolic Metamorphosis
186
Portentous Transformations
194
Metamorphosing Agents
198
Critique of Change
200
Conclusion
203
Strange Animals
205
Defining the Strange
206
Interpreting the Strange
211
Confucius Names the Beasts
216
When the Grackos Nest in Lu
225
The Dog as Daemon
231
The Capture of the White Unicorn
233
Conclusion
237
Conclusion
239
Notes
245
Bibliography
321
Index
353
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About the author (2002)

Roel Sterckx is University Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Cambridge and a former Junior Research Fellow of Woltson College, Oxford.

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