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Roger T. Ames is professor of Chinese philosophy at the University of Hawaii where he directs its Center for Chinese Studies. He is a translator of Chinese classics such as Sun-tzu: The Art of Warfare, Sun Pin: The Art of Warfare (with D.C. Lau), The Confucian Analects: A Philosophical Translation (with H. Rosemont, Jr.), and is the co-author of several interpretative studies of classical Chinese philosophy: Thinking through Confucius, Anticipating China, and Thinking from the Han (all with D. Hall).

 

Abstract of paper given at Taoism and Ecology conference
The Local and Focal in Realizing a Daoist World

I would like to expand upon and illustrate some propositions that I take to be fundamental to an understanding of the Daoist world. These proposition are: 1) the priority of situation over agency; 2) the priority of process and change over form and stasis; 3) the radial center rather than boundaries; 4) the moving line rather than place; 5) daode, or focusing the field: getting the most out of your ingredients; 6) the indeterminate aspect; 7) wuhua: something becoming something else; 8) the affirmation of death; and 9) deference and the parity among things. These assumptions provide us with a way of accessing, articulating, and illustrating the ecological sensibilities which pervade the early Daoist literature.

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