Zhuangzi's Critique of the Confucians

Kim-chong CHONG
Year of Publication
Suny Press

Looks at the Daoist Zhuangzi’s critique of Confucianism.

The Daoist Zhuangzi has often been read as a mystical philosopher. But there is another tradition, beginning with the Han dynasty historian Sima Qian, which sees him as a critic of the Confucians. Kim-chong Chong analyzes the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi, demonstrating how Zhuangzi criticized the pre-Qin Confucians through metaphorical inversion and parody. This is indicated by the subtitle, “Blinded by the Human,” which is an inversion of the Confucian philosopher Xunzi’s remark that Zhuangzi was “blinded by heaven and did not know the human.” Chong compares Zhuangzi’s Daoist thought to Confucianism, as exemplified by Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi. By analyzing and comparing the different implications of concepts such as “heaven,” “heart-mind,” and “transformation,” Chong shows how Zhuangzi can be said to provide the resources for a more pluralistic and liberal philosophy than the Confucians.