Volume 46, Issue 4, December 2006
Wu-Wei and the Decentering of the Subject in Lao-Zhuang
An Alternative Approach in the Philosophy of Religion
This essay attempts to provide an alternative approach to the philosophy of religion through a new interpretation of Daoist philosophy in light of Husserl’s phenomenology. I argue that Lao-Zhuang’s wu-wei should be understood as a reduction of our existential and conceptual beliefs about the reality of this world. In Lao-Zhuang, wu-wei is related to the theme of decentering of the subject. In order to be a true self, we have to make space at the core of our being for Dao to appear. The authentic selfhood is constituted in its correct
relation to Dao. In Daoist philosophy of religion, the center of gravity in the relation between Dao and the world (or worlds) is shifted from this world to Dao, and the problematic in the philosophy of religion is displaced from a truth-oriented issue to a receptivity issue.