Deleuzian (Re)interpretation of Zhu Xi


  • Margus Ott Tallinn University, Estonia



Zhu Xi, Deleuze, comparative philosophy, ontology, virtual, dark precursor, actual, intensities


I propose an interpretation of Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130–1200) seen through the ontology of Gilles Deleuze. Zhu Xi is one of the most prominent Chinese philosophers, the figurehead of the so-called Neo-Confucian school, and Deleuze is arguably one of the most important Western philosophers of the twentieth century. Both philosophers presented an ontology of differentiation, whose main aspects or stages I try to analyse in the paper: Deleuze’s notions of the virtual, dark precursor, field of individuation, intensities and the actual; and parallel to these, Zhu Xi’s notions of the veins (li 理), supreme ultimate (taiji 太極), energy (qi 氣), and things (wu 物). It is argued that a Deleuzian (re)interpretation of Zhu Xi is possible and that it may open new tools of analysis for studying Chinese philosophy as well as create a conceptual space that can bring together concepts and practices from different traditions.


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20. 05. 2020

How to Cite

Ott, Margus. 2020. “Deleuzian (Re)interpretation of Zhu Xi”. Asian Studies 8 (2): 281-310.

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