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China's Green ReligionDaoism and the Quest for a Sustainable Future$
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James Miller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231175869

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231175869.001.0001

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The Subjectivity of Nature

The Subjectivity of Nature

(p.22) 2 The Subjectivity of Nature
China's Green Religion

James Miller

Columbia University Press

Daoism proposes a radical reversal of the way that modern human beings think about the natural world. Rather than understanding human beings as “subject” who observe the “objective” world of nature, Daoism proposes that subjectivity is grounded in the Dao or Way, understood as the wellspring of cosmic creativity for a world of constant transformation. As a result the Daoist goal of “obtaining the Dao” offers insights into the ecological quest to transcend the modern, Cartesian bifurcation of subject and object, self and world. From this follows an ideal of human action not as the projection of agency onto an neutral, objective backdrop but as a transaction or mediation between self and world.

Keywords:   Nature, Environment, Subjectivity, Cartesian Dualism, Dao

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