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Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne Moral (review)

Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne... wrong(thefour sprouts),whileWang'sviewseemstofocusmoreontheknowing (zhi)aspect.WhetherLuandWangreallydifferintheirviewsisitselfaworthy topic for dispute, but Ivanhoe's translation in this case does not allow such distinctions to be made, and could lead to an interjection ofWang's ideas into Lu's philosophy. In conclusion, Ivanhoe's Readings is a highly commendable translation of Lu Xiangshan'sandWang angming'sworks.Itgivesgoodcoverageoftheirp ilosophical Y h viewsandliterarystyles,andcanbeusedasareliablesourcebookfortheLu-Wang School.ThisbookcanbeusedforanycourseonNeo-Confucianism,andIwillcertainlyadoptitmyselfwhenIteachsuchacourse.IhopeIvanhoewillcontinuehis endeavorandbringmoreNeo-ConfucianworksintotheEnglish-speakingworld. Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne Moral.ByGünterWohlfart.Berlin:ParergaVerlag,2005.Pp.286. ReviewedbyGeir Sigurðsson UniversityofIceland East-West philosophical encounters pose a tantalizing problem: virtually endless comparisonsandattemptstofindresonating(orcontrasting)featuresseemtoprevent usfromevergettingtotheheartofthematterandsaywhatwewanttosay.Itcanbe hardenough,asamatteroffact,tohavetodealwithonlyoneofthetraditionsin question,asitrequiresthatweworkthroughalonglistofcommentariesandinterpretations before we can even hope to find anything resembling a solution to the problem(s)givingrisetoourexplorations.Inthisway,thehistoryofphilosophyhas become philosophy itself, as GünterWohlfart writes in his challenging book, Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste(Theartoflivingandotherarts),echoingacomplaintmadebyAlbertCamus.1Thewidespreadphilosophicaltendencytobypassthe complexhistoricalandhermeneuticalwebofdialoguesandreturntosimplicity,zu den Sachen selbst(EdmundHusserl),tothatwhich"reallymatters,"isanunderstandable temptation. The tendency is recurrent in the history of Western philosophy, reachingahigherlevelofurgencyattheturnofthetwentiethcenturyandbeyond.In China, however, ancient Daoist philosophy already presents itself as such an endeavortoriditselfofthebaggageoftradition,history,andestablishedsystemsinits questforoptimalwaysofliving nddying.TheDaoistsageisonewhofindsstabil--a ityandtranquilityinthecontinuousturbulenceofanever-changingexistence.But onedoesnotbecomeasageoutoftheblue.Sagehooddemandsalongandcontinuousprocessoflearning,self-cultivation,perspicacity,etcetera.Itmayverywell consistinsimplicityandplainness,butunfoldingandcultivatingthesequalitiesisnot necessarilysimpleandplain.Itrequirescomplex"undoings"oftheacquiredviews andtendencieswithwhichmodernlifehasimbuedus. Sagehoodisthereforeaparadoxicalcombinationofacquisitionandforgetting -- or this seems to be one among the many flavors contained in Günter Wohlfart's philosophical soup of spicy Zhuangzian tales as well as Daoist- and Zen-inspired PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number2April2011391­395 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress irony,puns,andobliqueobservationsincombinationwithWesterninsights,or,ashe putsithimself,"somewhatblandGermanicthought-ingredients"(p.12). Thisbook,a"tractatuspoetico-philosophicus,"astheauthorcallsit,couldbe readasacommentaryontheancientDaoistmasters,inparticularonZhuangzi.But itisacommentaryà la chinoisinthatWohlfartattempts,inamosttrenchantmanner, toapplytheirphilosophicalinsightstocontemporaryissuesandperspectives,offeringpoignantandoftenwittycriticismofseminalWestern-basedviewsandvalues.At the same time, however, he rejects the unproductive partisan view according to whichanythingcomingfromtheEastwillbepresentedassuperiortotheWest.In http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne Moral (review)

Philosophy East and West , Volume 61 (2) – Apr 27, 2011

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Abstract

wrong(thefour sprouts),whileWang'sviewseemstofocusmoreontheknowing (zhi)aspect.WhetherLuandWangreallydifferintheirviewsisitselfaworthy topic for dispute, but Ivanhoe's translation in this case does not allow such distinctions to be made, and could lead to an interjection ofWang's ideas into Lu's philosophy. In conclusion, Ivanhoe's Readings is a highly commendable translation of Lu Xiangshan'sandWang angming'sworks.Itgivesgoodcoverageoftheirp ilosophical Y h viewsandliterarystyles,andcanbeusedasareliablesourcebookfortheLu-Wang School.ThisbookcanbeusedforanycourseonNeo-Confucianism,andIwillcertainlyadoptitmyselfwhenIteachsuchacourse.IhopeIvanhoewillcontinuehis endeavorandbringmoreNeo-ConfucianworksintotheEnglish-speakingworld. Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste: Skurrile Skizzen zu einem euro-daoistischen Ethos ohne Moral.ByGünterWohlfart.Berlin:ParergaVerlag,2005.Pp.286. ReviewedbyGeir Sigurðsson UniversityofIceland East-West philosophical encounters pose a tantalizing problem: virtually endless comparisonsandattemptstofindresonating(orcontrasting)featuresseemtoprevent usfromevergettingtotheheartofthematterandsaywhatwewanttosay.Itcanbe hardenough,asamatteroffact,tohavetodealwithonlyoneofthetraditionsin question,asitrequiresthatweworkthroughalonglistofcommentariesandinterpretations before we can even hope to find anything resembling a solution to the problem(s)givingrisetoourexplorations.Inthisway,thehistoryofphilosophyhas become philosophy itself, as GünterWohlfart writes in his challenging book, Die Kunst des Lebens und andere Künste(Theartoflivingandotherarts),echoingacomplaintmadebyAlbertCamus.1Thewidespreadphilosophicaltendencytobypassthe complexhistoricalandhermeneuticalwebofdialoguesandreturntosimplicity,zu den Sachen selbst(EdmundHusserl),tothatwhich"reallymatters,"isanunderstandable temptation. The tendency is recurrent in the history of Western philosophy, reachingahigherlevelofurgencyattheturnofthetwentiethcenturyandbeyond.In China, however, ancient Daoist philosophy already presents itself as such an endeavortoriditselfofthebaggageoftradition,history,andestablishedsystemsinits questforoptimalwaysofliving nddying.TheDaoistsageisonewhofindsstabil--a ityandtranquilityinthecontinuousturbulenceofanever-changingexistence.But onedoesnotbecomeasageoutoftheblue.Sagehooddemandsalongandcontinuousprocessoflearning,self-cultivation,perspicacity,etcetera.Itmayverywell consistinsimplicityandplainness,butunfoldingandcultivatingthesequalitiesisnot necessarilysimpleandplain.Itrequirescomplex"undoings"oftheacquiredviews andtendencieswithwhichmodernlifehasimbuedus. Sagehoodisthereforeaparadoxicalcombinationofacquisitionandforgetting -- or this seems to be one among the many flavors contained in Günter Wohlfart's philosophical soup of spicy Zhuangzian tales as well as Daoist- and Zen-inspired PhilosophyEast&WestVolume61,Number2April2011391­395 ©2011byUniversityofHawai`iPress irony,puns,andobliqueobservationsincombinationwithWesterninsights,or,ashe putsithimself,"somewhatblandGermanicthought-ingredients"(p.12). Thisbook,a"tractatuspoetico-philosophicus,"astheauthorcallsit,couldbe readasacommentaryontheancientDaoistmasters,inparticularonZhuangzi.But itisacommentaryà la chinoisinthatWohlfartattempts,inamosttrenchantmanner, toapplytheirphilosophicalinsightstocontemporaryissuesandperspectives,offeringpoignantandoftenwittycriticismofseminalWestern-basedviewsandvalues.At the same time, however, he rejects the unproductive partisan view according to whichanythingcomingfromtheEastwillbepresentedassuperiortotheWest.In

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Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Apr 27, 2011

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