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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G015-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Dao, conventionally translated ‘the Way’, is probably the most pervasive and widely recognized idea in Chinese philosophy. The specific character of Chinese philosophy arises because a dominant cultural factor in the tradition, now and then, has been the priority of process and change over form and stasis, a privileging of cosmology over metaphysics. That the Yijing (Book of Changes) is first among the Chinese Classics in every sense bears witness to the priority of cosmological questions – how, or in what way (dao) should the world hang together? – over metaphysical and ontological questions – what is the reality behind appearance, the Being behind the beings, the One behind the many, the true behind the false? The contrast lies in finding a way rather than seeking the truth.

Citing this article:
Hall, David L. and Roger T. Ames. Dao, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G015-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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