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Xujing (Emptiness and Stillness) in Daoism, Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature, and Environmental Ethics

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In this article, I will examine the concept of xujing 虛靜 (emptiness and stillness) in Daoism and its relationship with the aesthetic appreciation of nature and environmental ethics. Firstly, I will examine the Chinese philosophical understanding of nature through the concept of qi. I point out that qi is characterized by four interrelated features, which are emptiness, creativity, vitality, and stillness. Xujing are also aesthetically appreciated as the objective features of qi. Secondly, I will discuss why, as the objective features of qi, xujing are considered to be features that have aesthetic value. I argue that empathy is the reason why emptiness as the objective feature of qi is regarded as having aesthetic value. Thirdly, I will discuss how the aesthetic concept of emptiness helps contribute to the construction of place-based environmental ethics.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, School of Political Science and Public Management, Soochow University


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