Zhuangzi and Agricultural Ethics

  • Kai-Yuan Cheng
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 27)


Paul Thompson (The agrarian vision. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, 2010) has developed a virtue-based view of agriculture, and claims that it is the key to environmental sustainability. This chapter aims to improve upon this agrarian view by exposing some of the theoretical defects inherent in it, and by showing how those defects may be overcome by incorporating some alternative ways of thinking about the man-nature relationship from the perspective of Zhuangzi’s philosophy. This agrarian, Dao-constrained, position is developed on the basis of a no-self thesis proposed in Cheng’s (Philosophy East and West 64:563–597, 2014) reading of the dream of the butterfly.


Zhuangzi Agrarianism Agricultural ethics Paul B. Thompson 



The completion of this paper is made possible by the generous support of a research grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (106-2410-H-010-014-MY3). Earlier versions of this paper were presented at Kyoto University, National Taiwan University, National Tung-Hua University, where I received helpful feedback from the audiences. Special thanks go to Paul Thompson and Kirill Thompson for their encouragement and feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kai-Yuan Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.National Yang-Ming UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan

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