Abstract

Many philosophical interpretations of the Daoist classics have proceeded, or continue to proceed, to read into these works the quest for a transcendental, foundational principle, a permanent moment of rest beyond the turmoil of everchanging things. The metaphysics that may be understood to be at work in such interpretations is what Heidegger and Derrida have called philosophy as ontotheology. It is argued here that Heidegger, Derrida, and the classical Daoists are better understood not so much as metaphysical and essentialist thinkers but as advocates of a profoundly inner-worldly way of thinking. In arguing for such a different approach, the focus here is on the situational character of Daoism, showing how taking a non-metaphysical approach will help make clear that Daoism is concerned with the interrelatedness of all things, and thus also of humans with these things. In doing so, the focus is specifically on the "gateway" (men 門) character, and comparisons are drawn with Heidegger and Derrida. It is argued that when considered closely, the use of this "gateway" character, especially in the Daodejing, but also in the Zhuangzi and the Yuandao, does not point to a transcendent or transcendental dao beyond the "gateway," but to an inner-worldly dao understood as defining regularity within a process world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 499-516
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-27
Open Access
No
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