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Ethics in Early ChinaAn Anthology$
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Chris Fraser, Dan Robins, and Timothy O'Leary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028931

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028931.001.0001

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“It Goes beyond Skill”

“It Goes beyond Skill”

(p.105) 5 “It Goes beyond Skill”
Ethics in Early China

Dan Robins

Hong Kong University Press

In early Chinese discourse, a dào was most often a norm-governed way of doing something, such as filling a role, engaging in an activity, or achieving some goal. The dào promoted by the various masters were of this sort, for example. But there are also texts according to which dào is prior to and gives rise to the cosmos. For example, Book 6 of the Zhuāngzǐ tells us that “dào . . .[is] from the basis, from the root, when there were not yet heaven and earth, since ancient times it has persisted . . . it produces heaven and produces earth” (Zhuāngzǐ 6:230/81). The aim of this chapter is to give an account of how these two uses of the term “dào” relate, and of what it might mean for ways of acting to give rise to the cosmos.

Keywords:   dào, cosmos, Zhuāngzǐ, heaven, earth

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