Yang Zhu – Enfant terrible of Philosophical Daoism and His Concept of Privatism
Keywords:Yang Zhu, philosophical Daoism, classical Daoism, hedonism, personal integrity, autonomy, individualism, privatism
AbstractYang Zhu, a Chinese philosopher from the fourth Century BCE, has been in the history of Chinese philosophy regarded as a selfish hedonist, unable of virtuous life in community, structured in accordance with rigid Confucian philosophy. As such, the official Confucian historiography has always marked him as a heretic thinker, unworthy of being a real philosopher. The present article tries to reject such an interpretation of Yang Zhu’s philosophy and to expose the fact, that his opus should be regarded as an extraordinarily egalitarian philosophy, striking for freedom, dignity and personal integrity of every individual in society. The article follows the presumption, according to which Yang Zhu is the very representative of classical Daoism, who tried in his work to consistently realize the principle of social tolerance, autonomy and individual freedom in the sense of “to live and to let live”. Yang Zhu is often denoted as an advocate of anarchism or individualism. Instead, the author of the present article proposes to apply the term “privatism” to his philosophy, because her contextual analysis has shown that it is a more appropriate and less Eurocentric term.
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