Within the Spinning Stillness of the Present

Reflections on Transcultural Zhuangzi-Studies in Taiwan

  • Fabian Heubel Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
Keywords: Zhuangzi, subjectivity, transcultural turn, hybrid modernization, Yang Rubin (Yang Rur-bin), Contemporary Neo-Confucianism, Taiwan


Taiwan is an island in East Asia on which the complex effects of hybrid modernization have been experienced particularly directly and strongly. This situation also gave rise to perspectives in the study of literature and philosophy which differ significantly from those on the Chinese mainland. Why did transcultural philosophy find good conditions for development in contemporary Taiwan? This paper addresses this question by situating the recent development of “transcultural Zhuangzi-studies” within a larger cultural and political constellation. It begins with very general reflections on “transcultural Taiwan” and ends with a more specific discussion of Yang Rubin’s 楊儒賓 conceptual paradigm of a “material-energetic-spiritual subject”. My aim is to give an overview of the broader cultural and political situation, in which “transcultural Zhuangzi-studies” appeared and developed. Moreover, the paradigm of triadic subjectivity that Yang has been developing for decades can be read as “transcultural” because it allows the communication of different, often disparate cultural sources, classical and modern, Eastern and Western. This proposal is not only philosophically but also politically significant: Taiwan’s complex path to democratization and the development of this new “paradigm of subjectivity” deeply correspond to one another.


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How to Cite
HeubelF. (2020). Within the Spinning Stillness of the Present. Asian Studies, 8(3), 211-230. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.3.211-230
Modern Transformations in Logic, Daoist and Buddhist Philosophy