Laozian Sense of Social Responsibility: A Modern Development of Laozi's Philosophy

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Talk by Xiaogan Liu, CUHK

The term Laozian or Taoistic sense of social responsibility derived from close textual reading and comprehensive analyses of theories in the Laozi or Daodejing, especially the Laozi’s terms of profound virtue (xuande), civilized naturalness (ziran) and non-direct action (wuwei). A typical expression of Taoistic responsibility is that a sage should support myriad beings in their natural development without taking daring and audacious action toward all creatures.
Taoistic concept of social responsibility purports an ideal social order and harmony without coercion and oppression and features three principles: 1) The concern of a responsible leader should focus on myriad things (wanwu) including mankind in the world. We may name this attitude as “patient-oriented responsibility.” 2) A Taoistic leader should practice the principle of all-inclusiveness without distinguishing between groups of people and communities for any reason. 3) The all-inclusive principle requires a neutral political and moral stance.

Dr. Liu Xiaogan received his PhD from Peking University, he has taught and conducted research at Peking University, Harvard University, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, PSR, CST, National University of Singapore, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr. Liu is the founding and honorary director of the Research Centre for Chinese Philosophy and Culture, and the founding editor of the Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture. He is author/contributor/editor of Classifying the Zhuangzi Chapters, Orientational Issues in Textual Interpretation, Dao Companion to Daoist Philosophy, Laozi Gujin, Quanshi yu Dingxiang, Zhuangzi yu Shatre, Liangjihua yu Fencungan. Many of his books and papers have been translated into other languages. Dr. Liu has received prizes and awards for excellence in teaching and research in universities at Beijing, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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Published: Thursday, May 28, 2015