The theory of Dao-nature or the theory of despoilers: a new interpretation for Daoist ecological ethics

YANG Zilu1

(1.School of Political Science and Public Administration, Southwest University)

【Abstract】In the evolution of Daoism, the theory of Dao-nature (Daoxing) advocated by Daoist metaphysics, holds a non-anthropocentrism ecological perspective while the theory of despoilers (Daoji) proposed by Yinfu (secret tally) practitioners holds a weak anthropocentrism one. Both theories, with their different ways of argumentations, though coexisting in the Daoist ideological system, possess quite different ecological concepts and result in the contradictive ecological practice of modern Daoism. On the one hand, there are a large number of precepts strictly prohibiting the destruction of ecological environment but nevertheless with certain flexible ones. On the other hand, it puts equal emphasis on the ecological protection and scientific and technological research. This seemingly contradictory attitude of Daoism can be explained by the their different attitude towards “seen” and “unseen,” that is, they believe that metaphysically human and all the living beings are of the same Dao- nature while secularly, people have the right to rationally explore the environment.

【Keywords】 the theory of Dao-nature (Daoxing); the theory of despoilers (Daoji); non-anthropocentrism; weak anthropocentrism; ecological ethics;


【Funds】 Supported by Chongqing Ph.D. Project on Social Science Planning (2014BS066) Major Bidding Project for National Social Science Foundation of China (14ZDB118) Southwest University Special funds for Basic Scientific Research for Central Universities (SWU1509154)

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This Article


CN: 11-3042/B

Vol , No. 02, Pages 83-88

May 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 The theory of Dao-nature and non-anthropocentrism
  • 2 The theory of despoilers and the weak anthropocentrism
  • 3 Conclusion
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