Title

Thinking on the edge: Heidegger, Derrida, and the Daoist gateway (Men)

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

10-2010

Abstract

Steven Bunk Many philosophical interpretations of the Daoist classics have proceeded, or continue to proceed, to read into these works the quest for a transcendental, foundational principle, a permanent moment of rest beyond the turmoil of everchanging things. The metaphysics that may be understood to be at work in such interpretations is what Heidegger and Derrida have called philosophy as ontotheology. It is argued here that Heidegger, Derrida, and the classical Daoists are better understood not so much as metaphysical and essentialist thinkers but as advocates of a profoundly inner-worldly way of thinking. In arguing for such a different approach, the focus here is on the situational character of Daoism, showing how taking a non-metaphysical approach will help make clear that Daoism is concerned with the interrelatedness of all things, and thus also of humans with these things. In doing so, the focus is specifically on the "gateway" (men (sic)) character, and comparisons are drawn with Heidegger and Derrida. It is argued that when considered closely, the use of this "gateway" character, especially in the Daodejing, but also in the Zhuangzi and the Yuandao, does not point to a transcendent or transcendental dao beyond the "gateway," but to an inner-worldly dim understood as defining regularity within a process world.

Discipline

Metaphysics | Philosophy of Science

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Philosophy East and West

Volume

60

Issue

4

First Page

499

Last Page

516

ISSN

0031-8221

Publisher

University of Hawaii Press

Copyright Owner and License

University of Hawai'i Press

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