Zhuangzi - The Non - Post -Nietzschean Perspectivist
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It is not uncommon to find both Nietzsche and Zhuangzi referred to as perspectivists, or thinkers belonging to a variety of philosophical thought that supports the belief that truth is relative to perspective and perspective bound. It is my contention that the categorization of Zhuangzi as a perspectivist is problematic, mainly for the reason that perspectivism is predominantly understood to be a school of thought initiated and endorsed as a major theme in Nietzsche’s authorship, and accepted by scholars as a philosophical idea stemming from roots that are considerations on the Nietzschean perspectivist theme. The result of Zhuangzi being deemed a perspectivist in philosophical orientation is that he is frequently read through Nietzschean concepts and discussed with a philosophical lexicon that is primarily derived from Nietzsche scholarship. The very notion of Zhuangzi as a “perspectivist,” for example, is the most evident product of this line of thinking, and the immediate irony of classifying Zhuangzi in this way is evident if we simply take a moment to consider the implications of Zhuangzi, a pre-Nietzschean thinker, being cataloged by a post-Nietzschean concept such as perspectivism. The result of this comparrison is that scholars tend to interpret Zhuangzi as functioning with a similar worldview and addressing similar problems as Nietzsche. I contend that such interpretations of Zhuangzi have been construed on the basis of illegitimate presuppositions. In addition, interpretations have pressed Zhuangzi's claims in terms of the same standards they use to assess Nietzsche's, wrongly presupposing the need for Zhuangzi to pass the standard criticisms of perspectivism similar to those Nietzsche has faced.
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