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Liberation as Affirmation

The Religiosity of Zhuangzi and Nietzsche

Ge Ling Shang

Publication Year: 2006

In this book, author Ge Ling Shang provides a systematic comparison of original texts by Zhuangzi (fourth century BCE) and Nietzsche (1846–1900), under the rubric of religiosity, to challenge those who have customarily relegated both thinkers to relativism, nihilism, escapism, pessimism, or anti-religion. Shang closely examines Zhuangzi’s and Nietzsche’s respective critiques of metaphysics, morals, language, knowledge, and humanity in general and proposes a conception of the philosophical outlooks of Zhuangzi and Nietzsche as complementary. In the creative and vital spirit of Nietzsche, as in the tranquil and inward spirit of Zhuangzi, Shang argues that a surprisingly similar vision and aspiration toward human liberation and freedom exists—one in which spiritual transformation is possible by religiously affirming life in this world as sacred and divine.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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p. ix

This book would have been an impossible task for me to accomplish without the direct and indirect contributions by a great many people to its production. I wish to thank late Charles Wei-Hsun Fu, who encouraged me to come to study in the United States and worked with me on this topic at the outset....

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Chapter 1 Introduction

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pp. 1-8

As a Chinese intellectual living in China in the 1980s, I cheerfully anticipated China’s political and economic reform after the closure of Mao’s reign, but felt pessimistic about whether such reform, based as it was on communist ideology and a vast bureaucracy, would bring prosperity and well-being to my country. This predicament evoked my fascination in the...

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Chapter 2 Zhuangzi's Dao: A Way of Freedom

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pp. 9-58

Zhuangzi, originally Zhuang Zhou (庄周, 399–295 BCE), was said to be a contemporary of King Hui of Liang or Wei (梁惠王, 370–319 BCE), King Xuan of Qi (齐宣王, 319–301 BCE), and Mencius (371–289 BCE) though they never met each other. Zhuangzi was a resident of Meng, which belonged to Chu State, now probably somewhere in Anhui Province near Long River...

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Chapter 3 Nietzsche's Philosophy of Life Affirmation

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pp. 59-102

The question, after a brief scheme of Zhuangzi’s philosophy has been presented, now comes to the fore: Who is Nietzsche? Is there such a man, a writer, a philosopher, whom I can present? Who is that man asking, “Why am I so clever?” and, “Why I do write such good books?”? Some would...

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Chapter 4 An Interplay Between Zhuangzi and Nietzsche

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pp. 103-136

Nietzsche knew little about Chinese thought, though he had some acquaintance with Indian Buddhism and Hindu culture,1 certainly enough to prompt his disparagement of them. Nietzsche conceived Buddhism as the highest mode of nihilism and pessimism (WP, 55, 154; A, 20). He also very briefly...

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Chapter 5 Converging New Worlds: Zhuangzi, Nietszche, and Contemporary Philosophy

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pp. 137-164

In this chapter I want to analyze and explore the possible implications and contributions of my present project for the contemporary study of philosophy. As seen in the preceding chapters, the two philosophers I have compared seemed to have many familiar concerns that coincide with themes discussed...


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pp. 165-180


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pp. 181-188


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p. 189

E-ISBN-13: 9780791482247
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791466674
Print-ISBN-10: 0791466671

Page Count: 198
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 69188429
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Liberation as Affirmation

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Subject Headings

  • Zhuangzi.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, -- 1844-1900.
  • Taoist philosophy.
  • Philosophy.
  • Philosophy, Comparative.
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