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The Metaphysics of Dao in Wang Bi’s Interpretation of Laozi


Wang Bi 王弼 develops a metaphysic of Dao 道 in his Commentary on Laozi (Laozi Zhu 老子注) and “The Structure of Laozi’s Subtle Pointers (Laozi Zhilue 老子指略).” I summarize this metaphysic as the following thesis: Dao is featureless and is the ultimate reason why the myriad things exist and are the ways they are. I develop a systematic account of this thesis: I provide an interpretation of the featurelessness of Dao and show how Dao’s featurelessness relates to its fundamental explanatory role as the ontological ground for the myriad things.

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I would like to thank an anonymous reviewer and audiences at the 13th Annual Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Hao Hong.

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Hong, H. The Metaphysics of Dao in Wang Bi’s Interpretation of Laozi. Dao 18, 219–240 (2019).

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