Emotions in the Zhuangzi

McGrath, Martha (1996) Emotions in the Zhuangzi. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The primary purpose of my thesis is to address the lack of critical scholarship concerning emotions in classical Chinese texts. I do this by examining emotions in three texts: the Zhuangzi, the Mencius, and the Xunzi. I use the Zhuangzi as my primary text and the others for comparison. -- There are four sections. The first section describes the character qing and its use as an "umbrella" term for emotions in Warring States texts. -- The second section reveals that there are certain, implied, assumptions regarding the nature of emotions shared in the Zhuangzi, the Mencius, and the Xunzi. Judgements, desires, actions, and physical states are related to emotions in these texts. -- The third section examines in detail Zhuangzi's attitude toward emotion. It also looks at how his view of emotions relates to his concepts of xing, nature, and xin, mind/heart. Emotions, he argues, have no place in the natural world, they are characteristics of the imperfect, ordinary person rather than the natural, perfected one. Emotions are aspects that are externally imposed rather than the initial conditions defining us at birth. Zhuangzi's view of emotions is also compared to Mencius' and Xunzi's view of emotions and to their ideas of human nature. Emotions, in Mencius, are innate characteristics that can motivate people to be moral. Emotions, in Xunzi, are also innate, but motivate people to behave in a selfish manner. -- Finally, the fourth section examines how Zhuangzi's criticism of emotion fits into his philosophical positions. These positions suggest that the natural human being has no individuality. The final discussion examines the question of whether or not such a position is tenable.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11016
Item ID: 11016
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [97-102].
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Religious Studies
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Cheng (Chinese philosophy); Emotions (Philosophy); Self.

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