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Article: The limitations of ritual propriety: Ritual and language in Xunzi and Zhuangzi

TitleThe limitations of ritual propriety: Ritual and language in Xunzi and Zhuangzi
Authors
KeywordsConfucianism
Daoism
Rectification Of Names
Ritual
Xúnzǐ
Zhuāngzǐ
Issue Date2012
PublisherSpringer Netherlands. The Journal's web site is located at http://link.springer.com/journal/11841
Citation
Sophia, 2012, v. 51 n. 2, p. 257-282 How to Cite?
AbstractThis essay examines the theory of ritual propriety presented in the Xúnzǐ and criticisms of Xunzi-like views found in the classical Daoist anthology Zhuāngzǐ. To highlight the respects in which the Zhuāngzǐ can be read as posing a critical response to a Xunzian view of ritual propriety, the essay juxtaposes the two texts' views of language, since Xunzi's theory of ritual propriety is intertwined with his theory of language. I argue that a Zhuangist critique of the presuppositions of Xunzi's stance on language also undermines his stance on ritual propriety. Xunzi contends that state promulgation of anelaborate code of ritual propriety is a key to good social order (zhi) and that state regulation of language is a key to smooth communication and thus also good order. The Zhuāngzǐ provides grounds for doubting both contentions. Claiming that ritual propriety causally produces social order is analogous to claiming that grammar causally produces smooth linguistic communication, when in fact it is more likely our ability to communicate that allows us to develop shared rules of grammar. Humans have fundamental social and communicative capacities that undergird our abilities to speak a language or engage in shared ritual performances. It is these more fundamental capacities, not their manifestation in a particular system of grammar or ritual norms, that provide the root explanation of our ability to communicate or to live together harmoniously. The Xunzi-Zhuangzi dialectic suggests that ritual is indispensable, but normatively justified rituals will be less rigid, less comprehensive, less fastidious, and more spontaneous than a Xunzian theorist would allow. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/179558
ISSN
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.175
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorFraser, Cen_US
dc.date.accessioned2012-12-19T09:58:20Z-
dc.date.available2012-12-19T09:58:20Z-
dc.date.issued2012en_US
dc.identifier.citationSophia, 2012, v. 51 n. 2, p. 257-282en_US
dc.identifier.issn0038-1527en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/179558-
dc.description.abstractThis essay examines the theory of ritual propriety presented in the Xúnzǐ and criticisms of Xunzi-like views found in the classical Daoist anthology Zhuāngzǐ. To highlight the respects in which the Zhuāngzǐ can be read as posing a critical response to a Xunzian view of ritual propriety, the essay juxtaposes the two texts' views of language, since Xunzi's theory of ritual propriety is intertwined with his theory of language. I argue that a Zhuangist critique of the presuppositions of Xunzi's stance on language also undermines his stance on ritual propriety. Xunzi contends that state promulgation of anelaborate code of ritual propriety is a key to good social order (zhi) and that state regulation of language is a key to smooth communication and thus also good order. The Zhuāngzǐ provides grounds for doubting both contentions. Claiming that ritual propriety causally produces social order is analogous to claiming that grammar causally produces smooth linguistic communication, when in fact it is more likely our ability to communicate that allows us to develop shared rules of grammar. Humans have fundamental social and communicative capacities that undergird our abilities to speak a language or engage in shared ritual performances. It is these more fundamental capacities, not their manifestation in a particular system of grammar or ritual norms, that provide the root explanation of our ability to communicate or to live together harmoniously. The Xunzi-Zhuangzi dialectic suggests that ritual is indispensable, but normatively justified rituals will be less rigid, less comprehensive, less fastidious, and more spontaneous than a Xunzian theorist would allow. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherSpringer Netherlands. The Journal's web site is located at http://link.springer.com/journal/11841en_US
dc.relation.ispartofSophiaen_US
dc.rightsThe original publication is available at www.springerlink.com-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subjectConfucianismen_US
dc.subjectDaoismen_US
dc.subjectRectification Of Namesen_US
dc.subjectRitualen_US
dc.subjectXúnzǐen_US
dc.subjectZhuāngzǐen_US
dc.titleThe limitations of ritual propriety: Ritual and language in Xunzi and Zhuangzien_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailFraser, C: fraser@hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityFraser, C=rp01221en_US
dc.description.naturepostprinten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1007/s11841-012-0303-7en_US
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84864868493en_US
dc.identifier.hkuros203154-
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-84864868493&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_US
dc.identifier.volume51en_US
dc.identifier.issue2en_US
dc.identifier.spage257en_US
dc.identifier.epage282en_US
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000306546500008-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdomen_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridFraser, C=7401516122en_US
dc.identifier.citeulike10543985-

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