Advertisement

Aesthetic and Moral Appreciation of Nature in Philosophical Traditions of China

  • Shan GaoEmail author
Part of the Ecology and Ethics book series (ECET, volume 2)

Abstract

In Chinese philosophy, nature is viewed as an organic system that is always in a self-generating process of production and reproduction of life. This view of nature is best expressed by the Chinese philosophers as sheng-sheng-bu-xi. The metaphysical foundation for this perspective of nature is ch’i, a core concept in Chinese philosophy as well as in Chinese everyday culture and worldview. The Chinese aesthetic appreciation of nature is also aesthetic appreciation of ch’i. Ch’i has no physical form and is invisible and it is always in an unceasing process of movement which produces and reproduces life. In Chinese philosophical traditions, especially Confucianism and Daoism, these two characteristic of ch’i are aesthetically expressed and appreciated as emptiness and creativity. The Chinese aesthetic appreciation of emptiness and creativity of ch’i can be best illustrated in traditional Chinese landscape painting. Nature has certain features or structures which trigger certain emotions in the subject; and the subject whose mind has structures similar to the structures or features of nature projects their cherished values onto nature.

Keywords

Biocultural ethics ch’i Creativity Earth stewardship Emptiness Intercultural Self-realization 

References

  1. Ames RT, Hall DL (2001) Focusing the familiar: a translation and philosophical interpretation of the Zhongyong. University of Hawaii Press, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  2. Chan W-T (1963) A source book in Chinese philosophy. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapin FS, Pickett STA, Power ME et al (2011) Earth stewardship: a strategy for social-ecological transformation to reverse planetary degradation. J Environ Stud Sci 1:44–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chuang T (1968) The complete works of Chuang Tzu (trans: Watson B). Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. May Jr RH (2015) Andean Llamas and earth stewardship. In: Rozzi R, Chapin FS III, Callicott JB et al (eds) Earth stewardship: linking ecology and ethics in theory and practice. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 77–86Google Scholar
  6. Rozzi R (2012) Biocultural ethics: the vital links between the inhabitants, their habits and regional habitats. Environ Ethics 34:27–50Google Scholar
  7. Rozzi R (2013) Biocultural ethics: from biocultural homogenization toward biocultural conservation. In: Rozzi R, Pickett STA, Palmer C, Armesto JJ, Callicott JB (eds) Linking ecology and ethics for a changing world: values, philosophy, and action, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 9–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Rozzi R, Armesto JJ, Gutiérrez J et al (2012) Integrating ecology and environmental ethics: Earth stewardship in the southern end of the Americas. BioScience 62(3):226–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. T’ang C-i (1967) The individual and the world in Chinese methodology. In: Moore CA (ed) The Chinese mind: essentials of Chinese philosophy and culture. University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, pp 57–58Google Scholar
  10. T’ang C-i, Chang T (1956) Theory of mind and its metaphysical basis. Philos East West 6(2):113–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Tsung P (1995) Space consciousness in Chinese art. In: Liyuan Zhu, Blocker Gene (eds) Contemporary Chinese aesthetics. Peter Lang Publishing, New York, p 36Google Scholar
  12. Tu W-M (1985) Confucian thought: selfhood as creative transformation. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, School of Politics and Public ManagementSoochow UniversitySuzhouChina

Personalised recommendations