Wu Wei East and West: Humanism and Anti-Humanism in Daoist and Enlightenment Political Thought

Submitted by James Miller on Wed, 05/14/2014 - 16:53
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TitleWu Wei East and West: Humanism and Anti-Humanism in Daoist and Enlightenment Political Thought
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGoodfield, E.
JournalTheoria (Pietermaritzburg)
Pagination56 - 72
Date Published2011
PublisherBerghahn Books, New York NY
ISBN Number0040-5817, 0040-5817
Keywords*East and West, *Enlightenment, *Humanism, 0925: political sociology/interactions; sociology of political systems, politics, & power, Anti-humanism, Dao de Jing, Daoism, Enlightenment, Humanism, Laozi, Liberalism, Metaphysics, Orientalism, Political Economy, Political Theory, Wu wei, article
Abstract

Some contemporary authors have witnessed the flourishing of the Sinophilia of the Early Enlightenment and the direct impact of Daoist and Chinese thought on the ideas of Spinoza, Leibniz, Voltaire, Quesnay and the philosophers and have proceeded to make overt connections between the Daoist notion of 'non-action' or Wu wei and Enlightenment doctrines of laissez-faire. In contrast to such approaches, I argue that these frequent conceptual comparisons have often been inappropriate where touchstone humanist notions devoid of the Dao de ling's fundamental spiritual and metaphysical commitments are brought forward as evidence of interconnection. Adapted from the source document.

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