Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ziporyn on Xunzi II

Scott Bradley


This series will be short and mostly anecdotal; it will not be an attempt to explain Xunzi as Ziporyn understands him, but rather an unsystematic picking out of interesting ideas.

Indeed, this first stab at Xunzi could be said to not be about Xunzi at all, but about any philosopher with whom I significantly disagree. I was struck by the antipathy I felt at the introduction of him in Ziporyn's discussion. Zhuangzi speaks of the Confucian/Mohist conflict and how it demonstrates that without an awareness of how our opinions are perspectivally determined, we foolishly grasp our own as if to the Truth. And this leads to destructive sectarian and argumentative conflict. My response to Xunzi clearly follows this pattern.

Thus, Xunzi has a great deal to teach me, irrespective of what he says.

I am at a loss to say much more. Here is an opportunity to come to grips with the experience of "equalizing our opinions about things". I can only see it as a possibility, a distant horizon. To be free of the need to cling to truth and the 'right view' is yet another facet of Zhuangzi's philosophy through which, if we can pass as through a gate, all the rest falls into place.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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