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Chuang Tzu on human nature

Authors Koon, Fuk-Yin (官福然)
Issue Date 2000
Summary Though this thesis is called "Chuang Tzu on Human Nature", it only treats the theme of "human nature" as a centre of unfolding the whole itinerary of Chuang Tzu. In other words, I will try to discuss most of the important questions in Chuang Tzu's philosophy, the expositions of which always linked with Chuang Tzu's view on "human nature". These questions include Chuang Tzu's notorious position of skepticism and relativism, his views on such problems as death, freedom, fatalism and morality, his declaration of the decadence of the corporeal body and human intellect, etc. The thesis starts from justifying the rationality of posing the question of "human nature". After affirming this, I will try to draw the conclusion that Chaung Tzu did have positive theses on various kinds of philosophical problems. Afterwards, I will distinguish between two different levels of Chuang Tzu's uses of the concepts of "human being" and "human nature". One means decadence, especially decadence from the perfect totality and unity of Tao. The other tends to be a way of reconciliation and unification with Tao. I will argue in the following section that before reaching a comprehensive understanding of Chuang Tzu's view on "human nature", there is the necessity of understanding Tao first, since Tao is an ontological prerequisite of any being. To understand Tao means to resolve the problem of Tao's character and strain. On this problem, I propose that a theory of Qi should be adopted when explicating Tao. The primacy of Tao leads to a reevaluation of human beings' authenticity. A human being in his most authentic state should be deprived of anthropocentric attitude. This thus is a kind of "non-subjectivism". Our freedom is real if and only if it is a non-subjectivist one. Our morality and more generally our principle of evaluation must also be measured against Tao before we can derive any sense from it. The last chapter of this thesis, however, restores the unique status of human being. Being the most essentially constituting part of "human nature", the "heart", together with its function of conceiving, retains spontaneity for human being, and thus its uniqueness (without any sense of anthropocentrism). We have to strive to authenticate and realize our "nature". We should not be compared with other beings. We are unified with Tao via our mental endeavour, whereas others are in themselves immediately unified with Tao. This very last formulation of the relation between man, other beings and Tao shows that we cannot understand the notion of "human nature" in a simple manner. What I want to achieve in this thesis is a transformation in the progress of my argumentation and to arrive at a most definitive explication of my theme.
Note Thesis (M.Phil.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2000
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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