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Mirrors, Minds, and Metaphors

Mirrors, Minds, and Metaphors Erin M. Cline Department of Philosophy and Department of Religious Studies, University of Oregon As most scholars of classical Chinese philosophy are well aware, the Zhuangzi and the Xunzi both make use of the metaphor of the heart-mind (xin ) as a mirror. For Zhuangzi, a heart-mind like a mirror constitutes the ideal state of unity with the Way: ``The sage's heart-mind in stillness is the mirror of Heaven and earth, the glass of the ten thousand things.'' 1 For Xunzi, one must have a heart-mind like a mirror in order to learn about the Way. Just as a pan of water can be ``clear and pure enough to see your beard and eyebrows and to examine the lines on your face,'' so, too, can the heart-mind be clear and pure enough to respond appropriately to learning.2 A number of scholars have discussed the significance of the mirror metaphor in these and other Chinese texts.3 It may be of particular interest to comparative philosophers that the mirror metaphor is not confined to the Chinese tradition. Søren Kierkegaard is one example of a Western philosopher who used this metaphor, maintaining that the properly attuned heart ``mirrors'' the Good: ``As http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Mirrors, Minds, and Metaphors

Philosophy East and West , Volume 58 (3) – Jul 16, 2008

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press
ISSN
1529-1898
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Abstract

Erin M. Cline Department of Philosophy and Department of Religious Studies, University of Oregon As most scholars of classical Chinese philosophy are well aware, the Zhuangzi and the Xunzi both make use of the metaphor of the heart-mind (xin ) as a mirror. For Zhuangzi, a heart-mind like a mirror constitutes the ideal state of unity with the Way: ``The sage's heart-mind in stillness is the mirror of Heaven and earth, the glass of the ten thousand things.'' 1 For Xunzi, one must have a heart-mind like a mirror in order to learn about the Way. Just as a pan of water can be ``clear and pure enough to see your beard and eyebrows and to examine the lines on your face,'' so, too, can the heart-mind be clear and pure enough to respond appropriately to learning.2 A number of scholars have discussed the significance of the mirror metaphor in these and other Chinese texts.3 It may be of particular interest to comparative philosophers that the mirror metaphor is not confined to the Chinese tradition. Søren Kierkegaard is one example of a Western philosopher who used this metaphor, maintaining that the properly attuned heart ``mirrors'' the Good: ``As

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 16, 2008

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