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Zhuangzi Philosophy and Theorem of Language Essay

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Updated: Aug 18th, 2021


Zhuangzi was a traditional Chinese who acted as a very influential Chinese philosopher and he lived around 4th century BCE during the time of warning State. His name at times appears in other different forms such as Chuang Tsu, Chuang Tzu, Zhang Tzem Choang-SZi, ChuangTse or master Chang in English. He lived during the reign of King Hui of Liang and the time of King Xuan of ai. He lived within the span of 370-301 BCE. He was from the town of Meng which was situated in the state of song. He was given a name Zhou and was an official of meng. This philosopher was also a writer and he wrote the Taoist book Zhuangzi which he named after his name. He was given honorific title for writing the Taoist book. Zhuangzi was born in a place that was situated within the administrative unit country during the time of Tang dynasty.

Zhuangzi wrote the first seven chapters of Taoist book while the rest of the chapters were completed by his students and other philosophical writers. Therefore, this shows that the rest were a result of composite of writings. The extent editions of the Zhuangzi are as a result of recession by the Guo Xiang. Zhuangzi according to the Chinese religion he ahs has been categorized as Taoist which is evidenced by the inner chapter of the text since he stands out from the rest. Zhuangzi’s philosophy is skeptical since in most of his writings he argues out that life is limited and the amount of things one knows is also limited. His philosophy was very influential In development of Chinese Buddhism especially the Chan.

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Zhuangzi was known to be the first anarchist; he argued that the world does not need leadership and governing since he believed that things work out well when they are left alone to sought themselves out. He was the first Chinese to work out the ideas of spontaneous order before proud and Hayek. Allan Watts declared that Zhuangzi was liberalization since he was sympathetic to Monarchial libertarianism. Zhuangzi also stated out that life form possesses an innate ability or power which can enable transformation and adoption of the surrounding environment.

Zhuangzi’s brand of Daoism philosophy developed within different contexts defined by various schools of Daoism. He was basically after Laozi who was one of the earliest thinkers and a greater contributor of philosophy which was later known as Daojia which meant school of way. Zhuangzi was a contemporary of confusion thinker Mencius. He is one of the best literary and philosophical giants produced by china, because of his complex styles in the following areas.

Mythical, poetic, narrative, polysemic and humorous. He is best known for his good work as a result of editing and arrangement of jin dynasty thinkers commentators Guo Xiang Zhuangzi also helped the people of China to respond directly to the reality as it is due to his spontaneous behavior.

Zhuangzi did not develop only view on the following in his writings:- life and death or health and deformity. His philosophical achievements are meant to help people on how to deal with their ill-fate lives and to learn how to survive in the world. (Liu, 2006 pg 179)

Language theory is mainly the key to understanding philosophy of Chinese philosophy. According to Chinese language theory encompasses interpretation of the role of language in facilitating social interactions and observation of rules. Zhuangzi’s perspective view concerning language, expresses his inability of language to express various reality not only the hidden ones but also negative pressure.

Zhuangzi criticism on language aims at terms used by the formal Confucian and ritualism which has a high ability to identify itself with social hierarchy. He has written a series of passages that illustrates the relativity of language which he uses which takes side and does not. For example, “Let you love things equally” name, in this case, identifies and puts the essence of things in this passage. Zhuangzi made special contribution to the theory of language in China, (Luo, 2006, pg 179).

To develop this theory Zhuangzi has different opinion of the language. First he believed that language is capable of serving reality to certain extents. He did not value it as a

harm to have things such as social or political control. The second thing he noted about the language was that it was the first thing to be used by philosophers in the initial stage before they can capture the real meaning of what they want to express. Therefore, first there have to come up with concrete language which could enable them to express the ideas of their writings. Once the philosophers have come up with the ideas of his writings Zhuangzi believes that language lacks meaning and it’s therefore discarded by most philosophers. In this case language is viewed as an instrumental which enables philosophers to come up with different ideas regarding their writings and it lacks meaning thereafter. Therefore it requires skills, unprecedented ingenuity and certain ability which can enable one to capture the meaning which is the most important dimension of the speech.

Illustrations of necessity to “forget about words” (Wang yan) enables us to get a clue about Zhuangzi’s original answer to language. Zhuangzi mainly concentrates of discourse and also on the theme of the most recurrent themes of its weakness. He is very skeptical since he cannot be convinced of possibilities that certain nouns can be used to trace similarities and various differences in naming. He remains against spatial-temporal activity of names. Language used according to Zhuangzi depends on content, subject, respective speech situations.

Zhuangzi also performed symbolic writings in the text, whereby in the level of his writing he adopted a reversible language and he did this at telescopic text level where light cast on another reflecting the same idea.

Zhuangzi refuses the ideas which make philosophers be manipulated by language but instead he emphasizes its individual use. He also criticizes common convention and recommendation that someone should have a personal subjective basis for naming which must relate to a certain things. He also made an attempt to make conceptual structure of the language.

According to my point of view the theory used by Zhuangzi enabled him to develop most of his philosophical writings since through the use of language he was able to come up with various ideas to use in his writing. His use of language was very smart since he did not allow it to dominate most of his writing. He made special contribution towards development of theory of language in classical China. Therefore, through his theory of writing many philosophers have been able to come up with concrete writing of books, poems articles and so on.

The modern philosophers need to use language In order to reveal the truth about science and the world in general. Therefore, these philosophers have seen that just the normal language cannot help them in their revelation of truth and so they feel that there is a need to develop their own philosophical language. Unlike the theory of language used by Zhuangzi where he states that philosophical writers do not need language in their writing but he valued the use of language in philosophy as startup of nay philosophical writing since he did not value the use of language after coming up with basic ideas concerning the topic of his/her writing. In modern philosopher, they value, language greatly since it enables them to come up with a network of preposition which mainly portrays the logical structure of the world and therefore, one can write a good and meaningful story with the use of philosophical language.

Like in the case of Zhuangzi, philosophical language is highly valued by today’s philosophers. Its also used by students to know about the trend of philosophy language so as they can be good writers. This is the case in China since they emphasized that a god philosophical writer should have god aspects of language.

In today’s theory of philosophical language it emphasizes the correctness of language. Grammatically everything should be correct they even view the physical concept of grammar and the competence in the use of language in the writings.

In modern days philosophical language has emerged to be pivotal are for philosophy which supports philosophy fully in all its writing, reading and thinking unlike in the care of Zhuangzi where he states that language should not dominate philosophical writing this has been constructed in the modern philosophical study.

There are quite a number of philosophers who do not understand why philosophical language should be studied but like in the case of Zhuangzi it greatly helps in writing philosophical articles and coming up with concrete ideas on all issues of philosophy which need to be addressed.


Therefore, language used in philosophy both the accent times of Zhuangzi and today is very important in all the philosophical writings. In the name of Zhuangzi language theory was studied so as to understand some views in the philosophy which could not be interpreted with the normal language, interpretation of some of the terminologies used by philosophers is very necessary so as to understand the concepts in philosophy.

Therefore, since these languages are important today it’s predicted that as the world continues to advance the language will keep on changing and philosophers need to use these languages to advance their writings. According to philosophical findings, language is very important in all the writings.

Work Cited

Jeeloo Luo, 2006, Introduction to Chinese Philosophy, Blackwell, pg. 170-180.

Youru wang, 2003, Linguistic strategies in Daoism and Chan Buddhism, Rutledge: New York pg. 30-40.

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