Skilfulness and Uselessness in the Zhuangzi

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Abstract

Among pre-Han philosophical texts, the Zhuangzi is most famous for its extensive discussion and analysis of skill. Stories about such characters as Cook Ding (7/3/2-8/3/12), who can carve an ox without hacking and smashing, the swimmer (50/19/49-54), who can swim even in choppy waters, and Woodworker Qing (50/19/54-59), who can make bell-stands look as if they were they work of spirits, have attracted scholarly attention because of their literary and philosophical value. One might even suggest that skill cultivation helps one to embody dao 道, as the term 'dao' appears in several skill stories, including that of Cook Ding and the cicada-catchers (48/19/17-21).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSkill in Ancient Ethics : The Legacy of China, Greece and Rome
EditorsTom ANGIER, Lisa RAPHALS
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc
Chapter13
Pages261-279
ISBN (Electronic)9781350104334
ISBN (Print)9781350104327
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021

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