The Unskilled Zhuangzi: Big and Useless and Not So Good at Catching Rats

Eric Schwitzgebel 

in draft

The mainstream tradition in recent Anglophone Zhuangzi interpretation treats spontaneous skillful responsiveness - similar to the spontaneous responsiveness of a skilled artisan, athlete, or musician - as a, or the, Zhuangzian ideal. However, this interpretation is poorly grounded in the Inner Chapters. On the contrary, in the Inner Chapters, this sort of skillfulness is at least as commonly criticized as celebrated. Even the famous passage about the ox-carving cook might be interpreted more as a celebration of the knife's passivity than as a celebration of the cook's skillfulness.

By following either of the links below, you are requesting a copy for personal use only, in accord with "fair use" laws.

Click here to view this document as a PDF file: The Unskilled Zhuangzi: Big and Useless and Not So Good at Catching Rats (pdf, February 3, 2017)

Or here to view this document as an HTM file: The Unskilled Zhuangzi: Big and Useless and Not So Good at Catching Rats (html, February 3, 2017).

Or email eschwitz at domain: ucr.edu for a copy of this paper and/or data tables.


Return to Eric Schwitzgebel's homepage.