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Dynamic Model of Emotions: The Process of Forgetting in the Zhuangzi

Authors
  • Liu, Linna1
  • Chew, Sihao2
  • 1 Soochow University, School of Politics and Public Administration, Suzhou, 215123, People’s Republic of China , Suzhou (China)
  • 2 University of Oxford, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, UK , Oxford (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Dao
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jan 12, 2019
Volume
18
Issue
1
Pages
77–90
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11712-018-9642-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

What is the viewpoint regarding the emotional lives of sages in the Zhuangzi 莊子? There are two conflicting positions in current scholarship: sages have emotions, and sages are without emotions. In this essay, we introduce these positions with their corresponding textual support and show that they are not satisfactory accounts. Specifically, we point out that the conflict arises as scholars adopt a static model of emotions. Thus, we propose that a better way to understand the emotional lives of sages is to adopt a dynamic model of emotions characterized by the process of forgetting. Through the discussion of such a dynamic process, we show how conflicting textual evidence can be integrated into this dynamic process and, at the same time, be read consistently. Ultimately, we argue that the ideal emotional lives of sages in the Zhuangzi adopt a dynamic model of emotions characterized by the vacillation of activity of the mind between the state with and without emotions.

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