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One and ManyA Comparative Study of Plato's Philosophy and Daoism Represented by Ge Hong$
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Ji Zhang

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835545

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835545.001.0001

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Ge Hong’s Preservation of the One

Ge Hong’s Preservation of the One

(p.53) Chapter 3 Ge Hong’s Preservation of the One
One and Many

Ji Zhang

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter turns to Daoist epistemology, specifically, Ge Hong's preservation of the One. Unlike Plato's abstract reasoning, Ge Hong's notion of knowledge is empirical. It neither regards reason as having the monopoly on knowing Dao nor believes objective knowledge is superior to subjective opinion. For Ge Hong, cultivation plays the central role in the activity of preserving truth. His writings reveal two forms of cultivation that he describes seeking a path exactly opposite to the ontological flow of Dao. One is cosmogony, which unfolds from the one to the many in the mode of separation; while the other is soteriology, which returns from the many to the one in the mode of unification.

Keywords:   Ge Hong, Daoist epistemology, empirical knowledge, Dao, cosmogony, soteriology

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