A Moral Technique-Art (jiyi 技藝) for Contemporary Environmental Awareness
Keywords:fengshui, Zhu Xi, Cai Yuanding, Martin Heidegger, deep ecology, environmentalism
In this article, we will define fengshui as a contemporary hybrid way of thinking with a long history that unfolds from ancient Chinese philosophy and the art of ruling, through Song Neo-Confucianism, to modern Western ecologic interpretations. We will particularly highlight the cosmological and moral ratio of this art in the philosophical thought of Zhu Xi and Cai Yuanding, which we will propose as the possible source of a renovated moral fengshui. After this historical framework, we will present the process of the scientifization of fengshui as a building technology. Therefore, we will put into question this enframing of fengshui as a modern technology through both Heidegger’s lens and Li Zehou’s definition of “proper measure” (du 度). Following this hermeneutical analysis, we will propose jiyi 技藝 (technique-art) as the most suitable definition of fengshui and we will present the ethical dimension behind it (i.e., filial piety towards nature). In the conclusions, we will argue that fengshui is not, properly speaking, an environmental philosophy or an ecologism, since these two concepts are too rooted in Western philosophical culture (i.e., transcendence and the separateness of humans and nature). However, we are convinced that fengshui could fruitfully contribute to a deeper ecological awareness with a Chinese character on both the local and global scales.
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