Date of Award

12-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Berger, Douglas

Abstract

The scholarship that surrounds the relation or comparability of Martin Heidegger’s and Asian thought asks questions of comparability and influence, but the body of literature that has been produced over the last several decades has failed to fully engage Heideggerian and any particular Asian tradition with comparable depth. This work sets out to investigate the ways in which Heidegger’s work and the text of the Zhuangzi, in terms of their responses to the problems that emerge in their respective traditions, offer comparable notions of human nature, authenticity, and the human place in and relation to the universe. Both thinkers find that technology and utility, which are intimately connected with how humans appropriate the world, obstructs how humans are able to relate to the world. Though it becomes apparent in the investigation that Heidegger and the authors of the Zhuangzi offer opposing ideas of the underlying cause of this misappropriation and obstruction, this work uncovers that both traditions offer a vision of how to navigate the world such that we transform with and respond to the world of which we are an inseparable part.

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