For centuries, the ancient Chinese philosophical text the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) has fascinated and frustrated its readers. While it offers a wealth of rich philosophical insights concerning the cultivation of one's body and attaining one's proper place within nature and the cosmos, its teachings and structure can be enigmatic and obscure. Hans-Georg Moeller presents a clear and coherent description and analysis of this vaguely understood Chinese classic. He explores the recurring images and ideas that shape the work and offers a variety of useful approaches to understanding and appreciating this canonical text. Moeller expounds on the core philosophical issues addressed in the Daodejing, clarifying such crucial concepts as Yin and Yang and Dao and De. He explains its teachings on a variety of subjects, including sexuality, ethics, desire, cosmology, human nature, the emotions, time, death, and the death penalty. The Daodejing also offers a distinctive ideal of social order and political leadership and presents a philosophy of war and peace.
An illuminating exploration, The Daodejing is an interesting foil to the philosophical outlook of Western humanism and contains surprising parallels between its teachings and nontraditional contemporary philosophies.
Hans-Georg Moeller is associate professor of philosophy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada. He is the author of three other books on Daoism, including Daoism Explained: From the Dream of the Butterfly to the Fishnet Allegory.