Zhuangzi (aka Chuang Tzu)

Zhuangzi (aka Chuang Tzu)

“Students always fall in love with Zhuangzi,” says Bryan van Norden, translator and a leading scholar of Daoism. “It’s a philosophical work that makes its points through a combination of explicit arguments, very intriguing short stories, and poetry.”

Below, you’ll see all our interviews where the work of Zhuangzi has been recommended. We know little about him, other than that he lived in 4th century BCE China, and left behind one text. Confusingly, ‘Zhuangzi’ is both the text, and how we refer to the author. (And to add another layer of complexity, it/he is sometime also referred to in English as ‘Chuang Tzu’, reflecting the same Chinese word, but an older method of rendering the Chinese words in English).

In making recommendations about which books to read by Zhuangzi, our interviewees have recommended a variety of editions and translations, from Victor Mair’s Wandering the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu, to translations from Sinologist Burton Watson, David Hinton and Brook Ziporyn of the University of Chicago.

Books by Zhuangzi (aka Chuang Tzu)

Interviews where books by Zhuangzi (aka Chuang Tzu) were recommended

The best books on World Philosophy, recommended by Bryan Van Norden

The study of philosophy in the Western world is often parochial, and limited to the study of the Anglo-European tradition. It’s time to widen our focus, advises the author and philosopher Bryan Van Norden. Here he selects five foundational texts of philosophical traditions worldwide.

The best books on Trees, recommended by David George Haskell

‘The wood that frames our houses, holds up our furniture, and gives us paper arrives with signs of its ecological history purged.’ We’re a long way from the campfire where our relationship with trees got going. Here, David George Haskell takes us back, deep into the forest.

The best books on Philosophical Wonder, recommended by Eric Schwitzgebel

We think of philosophy as a discipline that interrogates complex dilemmas—the nature of will, right and wrong, human freedom—with logic, reasoned thought and argument. But what do the moments in philosophy that make us stop and look outside ourselves have to teach us? According to Eric Schwitzgebel, philosopher at the University of California Riverside, they can open up worlds of fresh possibility. Here he recommends five books of philosophical wonder.

The Best Illustrated Philosophy Books, recommended by Helen De Cruz

Philosophy is a very verbal discipline with much effort made to express meaning through the very precise use of language. You might think that pictures wouldn’t get much of a look in, but you’d be wrong, as philosopher Helen de Cruz explains. She chooses five books where the philosophical meaning of the subjects under investigation are given greater depth and clarity with the use of illustrations, from ancient Chinese philosophy through to the philosopher queens of the 21st century.

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