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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436 (Print)
ISSN 1673-355X (Online)
CN 11-5743/B
Postal Subscription Code 80-983

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, Volume 12 Issue 3

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Orginal Article
The Philosophy of “Naturalness” in the Laozi and Its Value For Contemporary Society
ZHANG Weiwen
Front. Philos. China. 2017, 12 (3): 340-357.  https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-006-017-0026-7
Abstract   PDF (329KB)

This article aims to show that the concept of “naturalness” in the Laozi is able to provide cultural guidance concerning values for contemporary social development. Specifically, the Laozi’s concept of “naturalness”— manifested in the text’s exhortation to “honor the dao and exalt the de” and its statement that “the dao models itself on naturalness”—has profound ontological, political and social implications concerning “naturalness” that are strongly expressed through a variety of propositions including “achieving all through non-action” and “downsizing the state and simplifying the people.” With respect to the question about individuals living a life of appropriateness and establishing their destiny, the Laozi emphasizes such cultivation methods as “sticking to simplicity and authenticity” and “watching in quietude and observing in depth,” which are also infused with the conception of “naturalness,” which stresses the notion that understanding the harmony between man and nature can provide useful lessons for the development of contemporary human society.

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Exploring the Non-objectified Character of Dao in the Laozi : A Modern Articulation1
LIN Guanghua
Front. Philos. China. 2017, 12 (3): 358-376.  https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-006-017-0027-4
Abstract   PDF (371KB)

This article focuses on the interpretation of heng dao 恆道 (sometimes translated as “the constant dao”) and its fundamental character in the Laozi. It argues against the prevailing interpretation of dao as an unchanging metaphysical substance or reality, and maintains that the fundamental feature of heng dao is both dynamic and eternal. Heng dao is beyond language because of its dynamic character, but the Laozi nevertheless strives to express it in three aspects: 1) its flexibility and adaptability as represented in the metaphor of water; 2) its movement of reversal and return; 3) and in its existential significance as a guide for life. Heng dao can be called the non-objectified dao, which produces law, principle, rule, method, and so on. Looked at in this way, the dynamic character of heng dao can be called non-objective.

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