“Wuwei in the Zhuangzi” by Mary K. Riley

Graduate Seminar Series: 27 Mar 2012, 2-3pm, Philosophy Resource Room; Speaker: Mary K. Riley, PhD Student


The Zhuangzi tends to portray the notion of wuwei, or non-action, through depictions of ideal persons rather than directly explaining it. In reading this work we are confronted with portrayals of wuwei that seem incompatible. In this presentation I will describe two seemingly conflicting accounts of wuwei in terms of “non-intervention” and “attending to.” Drawing on Zhuangzi’s theory of knowledge I will show how these accounts of wuwei do not really conflict. Rather, conceiving of wuwei as attending to a situation includes a concept of non-intervention.

maryrileyAbout the Speaker: Mary holds an MA from Kent State University, where her thesis focused on resonating themes in the Confucian and George Herbert Mead’s concepts of self. She hopes to continue research in comparative philosophy looking at the intertwining nature of community and individual in different philosophical contexts. Additionally, she is interested in the methodology of comparative philosophy and the problems associated with distinguishing between eastern and western thought. More broadly, her interests include early Confucian thought, American Pragmatism, Twentieth Century Continental philosophy, and Plato.

More information on the Graduate Seminar Series can be found here.