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The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy$
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Curie Virág

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498818.001.0001

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The Multiple Valences of Emotions in the Zhuangzi

The Multiple Valences of Emotions in the Zhuangzi

(p.133) 5. The Multiple Valences of Emotions in the Zhuangzi
The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy

Curie Virág

Oxford University Press

The Zhuangzi is often read an ascetic text, in view of its recurring emphasis on the misguidedness and self-destructive quality of human emotions and desires. But this interpretation is difficult to sustain given that the text also often affirms the naturalness and importance of such emotions and desires in the proper human life. This chapter stresses the theme of the multivalence of emotions, and argues that the varying normative accounts given in the text reflect the idea that emotions can be many things, and also undergo cyclical change and development. This multivalence captures the patterns and tendencies of the cosmos itself. The criterion of right emotions, then, is whether or not one’s emotions are in alignment with the cosmic process.

Keywords:   Zhuangzi, multivalence, higher knowing, mobility, wandering, cosmic process, transformation

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