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Vital Nourishment: Departing from Happiness

The philosophical tradition in the West has always subjected life to conceptual divisions and questions about meaning. In Vital Nourishment, François Jullien contends that although this process has given rise to a rich history of inquiry, it proceeds too fast. In their anxiety about meaning, Western thinkers since Plato have forgotten simply to experience life. In this installment of his continuing project of plumbing the philosophical divide between Eastern and Western thought, Jullien slows down, and, using the third and fourth century B.C.E. Chinese thinker Zhuanghi as a foil, begins to think about life from a point outside of Western inquiry.The question of how to “feed life,” or nourish it, is the point of departure for the Chinese tradition that Jullien locates in Zhuanghi. Life passes through each of us, and we have a duty to become amenable to its ebbs and flows. We must cultivate a sense of being adequate to it so that we can house it. Exploring notions of breath, energy, and immanence, Jullien reopens a vibrant space of intellectual exchange between East and West. In doing so, he refuses to commit to a rigid framework of meaning, and his text unfolds as an elegant process that mirrors the very type of thought he explores. Pointing out that it seems intellectually and politically imperative today to reinvigorate Western thought with ideas from the East, Jullien seeks to create a space of mutual inquiry that maintains the integrity of both Eastern and Western thinking. Vital Nourishment is both a rich intellectual historical journey and a text very much attuned to the philosophical politics of the present.François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of Detour and Access: Stratgies of Meaning in Chna and Greece, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China, and In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinsese Thought and Aesthetics, all published by Zone Books.

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Author: Francois Jullien

Editor/Translator: Arthur Goldhammer

Binding: Hardcover

Condition: New

Manufacturer: Zone Books

Number of items: 1

Number of pages: 170

Product group: Book

Studio: Zone Books

Publication Date: August 31, 2007

Publisher: Zone Books

Pages: 170

EAN: 9781890951801

ISBN: 1890951803

ASIN: 1890951803

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Art Goldhammer
Writer, translator, scholar, blogger on French Politics, affiliate of Harvard's Center for European Studies, writes for The American Prospect, The Nation, etc.