Righteous war in early daoist classics

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Abstract

This paper examines the concept of “righteous warfare” as employed in three early Chinese texts associated with Daoist philosophy: The excavated manuscript Huangdi sijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Four Classics), the Wenzi(Book of Master Wen), and the Huainanzi(Book of the Master of Huainan). At first glance, their promulgation of offensive righteous warfare seems at odds both with the Laozi’s (Book of the Old Master) condemnations of war and its rejection of “righteousness.” However, a closer analysis suggests that, despite differences in terminology and emphasis, there is a common thread in how polit-ical treatises belonging to the different branches of Daoist thought, as well as different stages in its development, treated warfare and its ethical dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Daoist Studies
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy

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