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Qi has been both understood separately as substance and as field. This essay argues that qi in the Zhuangzi is both substance and field together. This qi field-substance is bidimensional where its vertical axis is that of substance and its horizontal axis that of field. This essay argues that the vertical dimension does not imply a substance dualism but a holism where qi differs in degrees of refinement; it argues that the horizontal dimension is composed of interrelated yinyang forces that constitute an “empty” field. This essay also argues that at the center of this qi field-substance is the heart-mind and the body and, by drawing on rich resonances between the Zhuangzi and phenomenology, that human beings bring the fields of qi that they are situated in into certain coherences through their embodied activity.
Zhuangzi, qi, humans, substance, field