Dissertation > Philosophy, religion > World Philosophy

Tao, Over-Soul and Duality

Author WangXiaoYing
Tutor JiangHongXin
School Hunan Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Tao Over-Soul duality the philosophy of Lao-tzu the thought of Emerson
Type Master's thesis
Year 2004
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"Tao" is the highest category in the philosophy of Lao-tzu. "Over-Soul" is the kernel of Emerson’s thought. Both "Tao" and "Over-Soul" have duality, i.e., with the aim of fulfilling man’s upbuilding and man’s dream of freedom, both "Tao" and "Over-Soul" combine the metaphysical pursuit and the concern for the physical worldNonetheless, on account of the differences in social background and culture, the duality of "Tao" can not be the same as that of "Over-Soul". On the basis of comparative literature theory, especially Professor Wai-lim Yip’s theory of using "models" in East-West comparative literature, starting from the correspondences between "Tao" and "Over-Soul", I am trying to expound the duality, or the feature of "double character" in. "Tao" and "Over-Soul" in my thesis through a comparative study on the philosophy of Lao-tzu and the thought of Emerson, hoping to achieve a new interpretation and a better understanding, hence to realize the communication and permeation of the two cultures and to offer more cultural space for man’s development.This thesis is composed of three parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.The first part briefly introduces the two concepts "Tao" and "Over-Soul", simply states the theory of making a comparative study on the philosophy of Lao-tzu and the thought of Emerson, and generally offers the framework of the thesis. The body is to be expounded from three aspects in three parts. Chapter One elaborates the "double character" of the ontology and the "nature" contained in both "Tao" and "Over-Soul", which is the essence of the two concepts and the key reference of this thesis-writing. Despite of differences, the duality of the ontology shows great concern for man and the empirical world by combining the metaphysical and the physical; the duality of the "nature" obviously reflects different considerations of the relation between manand nature, which have exerted great influence on the cultures respectively. Chapter Two explores the metaphysical pursuit of "Tao" and "Over-Soul". As far as "Tao" and "Over-Soul" are concerned, they are the ultimate pursuits in the philosophy of Lao-tzu and the thought of Emerson respectively and hence represent truth and freedom in the two cultures concerned. Through discussing the impracticability of the pursuit of "Tao" and "Over-Soul", I am trying to say man’s desire for freedom is only a dream and the achievement of freedom in the pursuit of truth is only a vision. Chapter Three is concerned with man in the empirical world. The attainment of them is rather impractical, yet both "Tao" and "Over-Soul" demonstrate great confidence in the upbuilding of man through the emphasis upon moral sense, personal cultivation and individualism, therefore, fated as he is by this or that in his development, man is still likely to achieve some balance, not completely and passively limited by external and internal temptations. The conclusion summarizes the whole thesis, points out that both the philosophy of Lao-tzu and the thought of Emerson are spiritual teaching in the interest of human beings, thus looks forward to a better development of man in the communication and permeation of the two cultures concerned.

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