1st Edition

Daoism A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation

By Livia Kohn Copyright 2020
    222 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Daoism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation explores philosophy of religion from a Daoist perspective. Philosophy of religion is a thriving field today, increasingly expanding from its traditional theistic, Christian roots into more cosmologically oriented Asian religions. This book raises a number of different issues on the three levels of cosmos, individual, and society, and addresses key questions like:

    • What are the distinctive characteristics of Daoist thought and cosmology?
    • How does it approach problems of creation, body, mind, and society?
    • What, ultimately, is Dao?
    • How does it manifest and play a role in the world?
    • What are the key features of Daoist communities and ethics?
    • What role does the body play in Daoism?
    • What do Daoists think is the relationship between language and reality?
    • What is Daoist immortality?
    • How do Daoists envision the perfect life on earth?

    The volume delves into philosophical subject matter in a way that is accessible to those approaching the topic for this first time, while also making an original contribution to Daoist philosophy of religion. This volume is suitable for use by undergraduate and graduate students studying Chinese religion and philosophy, as well as more general introductory courses on Daoism.

    Introduction: The Nature of Daoism


    Part One: Reality

    1 Ultimate Reality

    2 The World

    3 Heavens and Hells


    Part Two: Humanity

    4 The Body

    5 Mind, Thoughts, and Emotions

    6 The Human Condition


    Part Three: Community

    7 Forms of Community

    8 Women and the Family

    9 Leadership


    Part Four: Ethics

    10 Daoist Ethics

    11 The Nature of Evil

    12 Religious Precepts

    13 Karmic Consequences


    Part Five: Perfection

    14 Selfhood and Spontaneity

    15 The Perfect Human

    16 Immortality


    Conclusion: Contemporary Connections


    Livia Kohn is Professor Emerita, Department of Religion, Boston University, USA. Her recent publications include Guides to Sacred Texts: The Daode jing (2019) and Daoist China: Governance, Economy, Culture (2018).

    ‘Livia Kohn has demonstrated that she presents a view representative of a wide range of texts and approaches. No one has a more comprehensive perspective on Daoist Studies. The material is well-organized and goes into significant detail. I especially appreciate the fact that she doesn’t, as so many others do, over-generalize the scholarship on the subject. I believe that it will be of interest to scholars as well as students.’ – Alan Fox, Professor of Asian and Comparative Philosophy and Religion, University of Delaware, USA

    ‘For about a decade now, several of those of us working on Daoism have sought to find the best way to introduce its philosophers, teachings, methods, and practices into the stream of academic discourse in the West. Works by Moeller, Komjathy, Miller and my own introduction (among others I may have overlooked) have each made a contribution. However, no one has done more in showing the value of Daoism to scholars both inside and outside of China than Livia Kohn. This work builds on the mountain of scholarship she has developed and it extends even her most recent works on Daoism and Chinese Culture and her introduction to the tradition published in 2008. This text must be added to the libraries of teachers and students of Chinese religious studies and philosophies.’ – Ronnie Littlejohn, Virginia M. Chaney Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of Asian Studies, Belmont University, USA