Convergence with Nature: A Daoist Perspective

Convergence with Nature: A Daoist Perspective

By: David E. Cooper (author)Paperback

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In this book David E. Cooper explores our relationship to nature - to animals, to plants, to natural places - and asks how it can be shaped into an appropriate one which contributes to the good of people's lives as a whole. Religions and philosophies have much to say about our relationship with nature, and Chinese Daoist philosophy has long been regarded as among those most sympathetic to the natural world. Daoists seek an attunement to the Dao (the Way) which is characterized by a sense of flow (water being a favourite metaphor), spontaneity, non-interference, humility and patience - virtues which contrast with the aggressive and exploitative values which characterize a modern world increasingly subject to economic imperatives. Like the best of contemporary nature writing, the classic Daoist texts reveal a yearning for convergence with nature, nostalgia for a lost intimacy with the natural world, disillusion with humanity or its products, and a feeling for nature's mystery. The author explains how these attitudes are rooted in Daoist philosophy and explores their implications for our practical engagement with natural environments. He discusses, too, a number of ethical issues - including hunting, intensive farming, and environmental activism - that reflective people need to address in their efforts to heal our relationship with the Earth.

About Author

David E. Cooper was Professor of Philosophy at Durham University for many years and has been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Canada, Malta, Sri Lanka and South Africa. His philosophical interests range from environmental ethics to aesthetics, from the philosophy of language to Asian thought, from the history of philosophy to the philosophy of religion. His many books include Existentialism: A Reconstruction, World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction, The Measure of Things: Humanism, Humility and Mystery and A Philosophy of Gardens.


1 Orientation Nature writing Some modern moods Philosophy's roles 2 Why Daoism? Nature and people in Chinese art In a Daoist key Daoist moods 3 Religion, technology, estrangement Theology and `the ecological crisis' A philosopher's hut Daoism, technology and estrangement `Letting-be' 4 Estrangement, environmentalism and `otherness' Rhetoric and reality Nature's `otherness' 5 Nature in Daoism `Nature': some connected senses Nature as educator Nature and virtue 6 On the Way (1): dao, world and unity Dao, God, nature and nothing Dao, experience and world Self, world and the unity of things 7 On the Way (2): de, virtues and sages De and the myriad things `Profound de' and human virtues The Daoist sage 8 Mindfulness of nature Mindfulness, disinterestedness and impartiality Mirroring nature and `dirty glass' Science and reverie 9 Nature, feeling and appreciation Sober joy Opposing moods Enjoying natural beauty 10 Engaging with nature Activity, engagement, intervention Being outdoors Engagement, environment and convergence `The Daoist body' 11 Wilderness, wildness, wildlife The wild Wildlife and hunting Guns, cameras, companions 12 Intervening in nature Industry and technology Agriculture The Daoist garden 13 Intervening for nature? Activism and virtue Environmentalism and wu wei Daoism and quietism Notes Reading

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780857840233
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 168
  • ID: 9780857840233
  • ISBN10: 0857840231

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