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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exegesis of the 'Ta Tsung Shih' chapter of the Chuang Tzu Ames, Roger Thomas

Abstract

This thesis provides an exegesis of what might be considered a "core" chapter of the Chuang Tzu text. The "Ta Tsung Shih" chapter is "core" in that it can be demonstrably shown to represent a systematic crystallization of Chuang Tzu's philosophical system. Basically, this thesis consists of four parts. First, in the Introduction, an attempt is made to substantiate the suggestion that the "Ta Tsung Shih" chapter can be considered representative of Chuang Tzu's thought. Second, a section by section translation of the entire chapter is provided. In this translation, emendations in the text are made only when absolutely necessary to make sense of the otherwise unintelligible. Third, extensive annotation to the text is provided in note form, working on the premise that philosophical analysis must be preceded by a reconstruction of a reliable text. In compiling the annotation, we have made an effort to consult and collate the bulk of historically significant commentary and provide alternative interpretations where they arise. We have been particularly meticulous with respect to textual problems, attempting to employ methods of modern textual criticism where possible. We also explore historical allusions in some depth in order to provide the reader with the background to understand and appreciate the significance of these references. Finally, in Appendix I an annotated bibliography of Chinese commentaries is provided, complete with a listing of the text used, the date of the work, the format of the text, prejudices of the authors and occasionally, a subjective assessment of the individual worth of these commentaries. This translation and annotation of the "Ta Tsung Shih" chapter is presented as preliminary to a philosophical analysis of the actual content, which unfortunately but necessarily falls beyond the scope of this thesis. In this analysis, it is expected that Chuang Tzu's thought as presented in the "Ta Tsung Shih" chapter can be shown to be an internally consistent system of ideas which provides the reader with a unique, if not extremely, profound interpretation of his human situation.

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