Jump to the main content block
Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Body, Metaphor and the Power of Transformation: On Two Kinds of Body and Thinking in the Zhuangzi

Vol. 44 No. 2   6/2014  


Body, Metaphor and the Power of Transformation: On Two Kinds of Body and Thinking in the Zhuangzi


Liu, Tsang-long









Key words

Zhuangzi, Body, Metaphor, Concept, Qi


        Recent studies have shown that increasing attention has been given to body and metaphor in Western philosophy. This paper provides a new perspective to interpret Zhuangzi’s莊子 thought of body and metaphor. I argue that the crucial distinction between “Leib” (living body) and “Körper” (objective body), made by Nietzsche, may also play a role in the Zhuangzi. For Zhuangzi, the individual is the embodiment of the form of natural process (qi ). A living body gets energy from this natural process only if one can practice a way of living that utilizes metaphorical thinking. Zhuangzi criticizes Huishi 惠施 for overemphasizing conceptual thinking, which causes the connection between body and natural process to become lost. Thinking through the metaphor of qi, Zhuangzi, as Nietzsche, philosophizes with metaphor and emphasizes the role of metaphorical thinking. Conceptual thinking therefore no longer occupies the top priority for philosophy. In this article, I intend to explore what “body” means to Zhuangzi and investigate the relationship between body, thinking, and self-transformation. Finally, and most importantly, I examine the following question: What is the way of thinking and living implied in Zhuangzi’s theory of body and metaphor?



Author: Liu, Tsang-long
Genre: Article
Click Num: