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Hiding the World in the World: Uneven Discourses on the Zhuangzi (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture) Paperback – 25 Sep 2003


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Review

"Scott Cook has done an excellent job of putting together a first-rate anthology of current research on the Zhuangzi. This is a scholarly collection that is also enjoyable and entertaining to read. It contains insights that, I would hope, will inspire new directions of research in the study of Zhuangzi's philosophy."

About the Author

Scott Cook is Associate Professor of Chinese at Grinnell College.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DID ZHUANGZI SAY SOMETHING? 28 Mar. 2015
By Scott P. Bradley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great contribution toward our understanding of Zhuangzi's philosophy, not because it succeeds in telling us what it is, but rather in its self-aware failure to do so. Perhaps that inevitable failing is in fact at the heart and spirit of Zhuangzi's philosophy. This anthology, as the apt subtitle tells us, is an "uneven discourse" that can, as its editor suggests, be profitably compared to the "contending voices" of Ziqi's forest trees where "each selects out its own" point of view according to each individual circumstance. "Seen from the point of view of their sameness", they are all as natural and equal as the chirpings of baby birds.
Still, did not Zhuangzi actually say something? He did. But he also negated it all in an effort to help us toward "an eschewal of all positive teachings" as the author of the 33rd chapter describes the teaching of Tian Pian and Peng Meng. He would have us depend on no cognitive formulae and find our freedom there.
If this is the case, then most of these essays can be faulted; their chirpings are as legitimate as any others, to be sure, but when set against the actual saying of Zhuangzi, they can be seen as having missed this fundamental point of departure. Roth and Yang, like many authoritative scholars, make of him a mystic of conventional stripe; Zhuangzi is just one more in an endless line of gurus advocating some form of positive realization and/or redemption. Hansen, "the arch 'anti-mystic'", takes the opposite extreme, correctly rejecting all the literalistic religious hocus-pocus, yet altogether missing the door to Zhuangzi's contentless mystical leap. Between these extremes are several very helpful essays, though some that also make disturbing assertions. In the case of the latter, Goldin's suggestion of a mind/body dualism in Zhuangzi's thought seems to be a result of an almost inevitable default to literalism. The suggestion by one of Zhuangzi's protagonists that upon death "he" may become a rooster, for example, need not be taken as implying the perpetuation of individuated identity beyond the death of the body. "Releasing the mind to play" is not intended to give license for the imposition of whimsical speculation upon the thought of others. In the case of the former, Ziporyn, as usual, digs the deepest and finds the core self-negating heart of Zhuangzi’s thought, “the ultimacy granted to teetering” (between saying and not saying).
This, in any case, is my response to the Great Clump's Belch as expressed in Zhuangzi.
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