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Anne D. Birdwhistell is Professor of Philosophy and Asian Civilization at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and East Asian Book Review Editor for Philosophy East and West. She has published Transition to Neo-Confucianism: Shao Yung on Knowledge and Symbols of Reality (Stanford University Press, 1989), Li Yong (1627-1705) and Epistemological Dimensions of Confucian Philosophy (Stanford University Press, 1996), and a number of articles. She received her M. A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University and her B. A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests now focus on comparative philosophy, particularly in respect to environmental and gender issues.



Abstract of paper given at Taoism and Ecology conference
The Ecology Question in Taoism: Can Ancient Texts Speak to Contemporary Issues?

This paper is concerned with the problem of how to construct new ways to think about nature that will contribute to positive changes in the treatment of the environment. I suggest that Taoist ideas can be utilized as a resource, but that current views must also be analyzed in order to determine how Taoist conceptions can be made relevant. Drawing on strategies of analysis of ecofeminism, I make several proposals, one of which is that the dualism of culture and nature must be destroyed and replaced by a recognition that the environment itself is a category of society. Taoist ideas, along with others, can help show how this theoretical position makes sense and can further suggest ways to acquire support for it. Taoism can contribute, for instance, to new formulations of the 'groundedness' of human society and to the composition of new stories that make and confirm our human identities.

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Taoism and Ecology conference participants

Culminating conference participants