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The Penumbra Unbound
The Neo-Taoist Philosophy of Guo Xiang
The Penumbra Unbound
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Brook Ziporyn - Author
SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
N/A
Hardcover - 196 pages
Release Date: March 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5661-7
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5661-3

Out of Print
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 196 pages
Release Date: March 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5662-5
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5662-0

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Explores the work of Guo Xiang, a Neo-Taoist thinker who developed a radical philosophy of freedom and spontaneity.

The Penumbra Unbound
is the first English language book-length study of the Neo-Taoist thinker Guo Xiang (d. 312 C.E.), commentator on the classic Taoist text, the Zhuangzi. The author explores Guo's philosophy of freedom and spontaneity, explains its coherence and importance, and shows its influence on later Chinese philosophy, particularly Chan Buddhism. The implications of his thought on freedom versus determinism are also considered in comparison to several positions advanced in the history of Western philosophy, notably those of Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, Fichte, and Hegel. Guo's thought reinterprets the classical pronouncements about the Tao so that it in no way signifies any kind of metaphysical absolute underlying appearances, but rather means literally "nothing." This absence of anything beyond appearances is the first premise in Guo's development of a theory of radical freedom, one in which all phenomenal things are "self-so," creating and transforming themselves without depending on any justification beyond their own temporary being.

The Penumbra Unbound is a very fine study filled with rich and well developed ideas that are expressed in a clear and concise manner. Ziporyn manages to strike a fine balance between historical and philological scholarship and philosophical analysis.” — Dao

“…Ziporyn’s learned and thoughtful analysis of the structure and significance of Guo’s thought is a lucid and worthwhile contribution.” — Religious Studies Review

"Ziporyn has provided us with a superb philosophic reading of Guo Xiang's philosophy. Furthermore, Ziporyn's philosophic understanding of the text is supported by his skill as an historian of Chinese thought. Guo Xiang is an extremely important thinker and deserves this kind of careful reading and commentary." — John Berthrong, author of Concerning Creativity: A Comparison of Chu Hsi, Whitehead, and Neville

"
Ziporyn provides an extremely powerful, highly nuanced, and philosophically compelling analysis of Guo Xiang. This work of tremendous intellectual power makes a major contribution, not only to the study of early Chinese thought, but also to the field of comparative philosophy." — Michael J. Puett, author of To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China


Brook Ziporyn is Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Northwestern University.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

PART I

Introduction

The Classical Chinese Philosophical Background

An Overview of Guo Xiang's Philosophical Project

The Problem of Spontaneity and Morality in Earlier Xuanxue

Guo's Solution:The Image of Traces

The Dangers of Traces

PART II

Interactivity Without Traces: "Vanishing (Into) Things"

The Unification of Independence and Interdependence

PART III

Lone-Transformation 99

The Unity of Activity and Nonactivity

APPENDIX A

Guo Xiang's Use of the Term Xing: The Inherency of Change and the Confluence of Chance, Freedom, and Necessity in the Notion of the Self-So

APPENDIX B

Comparative Notes on Freedom and Determinism

Notes

Bibliography

Index



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