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Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Daoist Thought

Crossing Paths In-Between

Katrin Froese

Publication Year: 2006

In this book, Katrin Froese juxtaposes the Daoist texts of Laozi and Zhuangzi with the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger to argue that there is a need for rethinking the idea of a cosmological whole. By moving away from the quest for certainty, Froese suggests a way of philosophizing that does not seek to capture the whole, but rather becomes a means of affirming a connection to it, one that celebrates difference rather than eradicating it. Human beings have a vague awareness of the infinite, but they are nevertheless finite beings. Froese maintains that rather than bemoaning the murkiness of knowledge, the thinkers considered here celebrate the creativity and tendency to wander through that space of not knowing, or “in-between-ness.” However, for Neitzsche and the early Heidegger, this in-between-ness can often produce a sense of meaninglessness that sends individuals on a frenetic quest to mark out space that is uniquely their own. Laozi and Zhuangzi, on the other hand, paint a portrait of the self that provides openings for others rather than deliberately forging an identity that it can claim as its own. In this way, human beings can become joyful wanderers that revel in the movements of the Dao and are comfortable with their own finitude. Froese also suggests that Nietzsche and Heidegger are philosophers at a crossroads, for they both exemplify the modern emphasis on self-creation and at the same time share the Daoist insight into the perils of excessive egoism that can lead to misguided attempts to master the world.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Daoist Thought

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pp. v

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pp. vii

With this book I have entered into terrain that was largely unfamiliar to me, and I wish to thank the mentors and friends whose help and encouragement made this possible. I am grateful to the teachers and administrators at the Chinese Language Centre at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan. I would like to offer many thanks to Chen Ya Xue who helped me with modern Chinese and Lai Zhao Hua who ...


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-17

Globalization has become one of the most pervasive catchwords of the modern era, and refers not only to the interpenetration of markets, technology and information but also to the proliferation of ideas that increasingly spill over boundaries. Although technological innovation has greatly increased the rapidity and facility with which in theory at least, the cross-fertilization of cultures becomes ...

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1. Ways of Being, Ways of Thinking

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pp. 19-68

If there is one tendency that almost all philosophical traditions have shared, it is the assumption that there is a larger whole in which we participate or to which we belong. In some traditions, the whole has been conceived of as process, in others, it has been regarded as a kind of universal substance or being. The study of the cosmos in the West is often identified with metaphysics, a word which ...

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2. Finite Wanderers

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pp. 69-112

Modern Western philosophy has made the subject the epicentre of inquiry. Kant suggests that the antennas of knowledge could neither reach God, nor yield an understanding of the infi nite, but that certainty about the rules, which should guide a rational moral subject, would be more easily attainable. Even if the thing-in-itself proved to be somewhat elusive, patterns of subjective enquiry could be postulated ...

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3. The Importance of Nothing

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pp. 113-157

The nihilistic undertones of late modern and contemporary philosophy are reflective of a world in which metaphysical horizons are rapidly collapsing. Nietzsche’s infamous proclamation, “God is dead,” marks the end of a metaphysical era in which a single order underpins all of existence. While Nietzsche is cognizant of the widespread despair that God’s death might usher in, he inveighs against the notion that ...

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4. Hierarchy and Equality

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pp. 159-183

By linking the philosophy of Heidegger and Nietzsche with Daoism, I lean towards highlighting those aspects of their thoughts that celebrate interconnection, diversity, and openness. Undoubtedly, for many, this account will appear skewed, in light of the darker political side that is an integral part of both Nietzsche’s and Heidegger’s legacies. Both have been connected with the Nazi regime, albeit for different ...

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5. Woman’s Eclipse

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pp. 185-217

The alternatives to prevailing metaphysical views propounded by Heidegger, Nietzsche, Laozi, and Zhuangzi, have profound implications for feminist theory, even if none of these thinkers espouse explicitly feminist views. Nevertheless, one could argue that both an unspoken and explicit debt to the feminine is an integral part of their metaphysical or antimetaphysical orientations. Traditionally, the feminine ...

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6. Being(s) in Between

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pp. 219-232

The rationalism of the West has often been contrasted with the mysticism of the East, and this dichotomization has frequently been invoked to affirm the superiority of one tradition over the other. On many occasions, the hegemony of the West is deemed justifiable because the rationality that it purportedly appeals to entitles it to enlighten peoples whose mysticism is the mark of a more primitive form ...


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pp. 233-240


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pp. 241-252


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pp. 253-256

E-ISBN-13: 9780791481738
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791467657
Print-ISBN-10: 0791467651

Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2006