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Chuang Tzu’s Becoming-Animal


Contemporary intellectual discourse on the animal question is already referenced inexhaustibly with the Western canon’s philosophical, religious, political, and literary texts. This essay proposes that the Chuang Tzu, which lies outside that canon, can provide a critical supplement to this discourse and broaden its space of comparative discussion. But this can be done only by recognizing that the Chuang Tzu is not just a text with animal metaphors but a veritable animal text, a text that looks toward following the animal, or, to use Deleuze and Guattari’s term, becoming-animal. That is the task of this essay, as it seeks to demonstrate that thinking the Way in the Chuang Tzu concerns precisely following or thinking the animal.

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