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Hong‐ki Lam. The State of the Field Report IX: Contemporary Chinese Studies of Zhuangzian Wang (Forgetting)
2023, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 22, 297–317
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, Contributed by: I Xuan Chong
Abstract: The use of the character wang 忘 (forgetting) in the Zhuangzi 莊子 has been widely recognized in traditional and contemporary Chinese scholarship, but its meaning remains unclear. This article reviews some notable studies in Sinophone academia concerning the notion of wang in the Zhuangzi. The studies, though not necessarily focused on wang, shed light on different aspects of the concept, including its relation to self-cultivation, aesthetics, ethics, and ontology. While some scholars see wang as a form of elimination, others stress its relation to other concepts such as shi 適 (fitting). The relation of these two concepts, however, is not yet clear. There are also debates over what makes wang possible, with some linking it to dao 道 and some directing our attention to our daily experience. Despite the limited attention paid to wang to date, the studies reviewed show that it is a crucial aspect of Zhuangzian philosophy and deserves further study.

Comment: A state of the field report primarily covering Chinese publications on an important topic in the Zhuangzi. A useful overview for those who want to dig deeper into that topic. Prior konwledge of Zhuangzi's philosophy can be helpful.

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