Cheryl Cottine, Oberlin College
“Learning to Laugh with Zhuangzi”
This talk explores the relationship between textual authority and the use of humor in the Zhuangzi. Unlike other philosophical texts of the time, the Zhuangzi does not advance any direct argument about the good or moral life designed to win the allegiance of the reader. Rather, Zhuangzi indirectly and often humorously guides the reader toward his vision of the good and free life. This difference in writing style results partially, I argue, from their very different perceptions of obedience and authority.
Cheryl Cottine is Assistant Professor of Religion at Oberlin College. She works in the area of comparative religious ethics with an emphasis on early Confucian ethics. She is interested in thinking about the relevance of early Confucian conceptions of roles, relationships, and virtues for contemporary moral and political philosophy. Her teaching interests include methodological courses on comparative religious ethics, environmental ethics, medical ethics, and thematic courses that engage classic works from both Chinese and Western traditions.