Theory of Non-Emotion in the Zhuangzi and its Connection to Wei-Jin Poetry


  • Katia Lenehan

    Corresponding author
    1. Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei County, Taiwan
    • KATIA LENEHAN, Assistant Research Fellow, Fu Jen Academia Catholica, Fu Jen Catholic University. Specialties: aesthetics, scholasticism, phenomenology. E-mail:

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Zhuangzi purports to follow a particular method of viewing human emotion and suggests freeing oneself from worldly emotions—this is called “doctrine of non-emotion” (wuqing shuo 無情說). This article attempts to show that the idea of non-emotion in Zhuangzi does not in any way conflict with the expression of emotion in poetry, and moreover, it provides a foundation for the poet to express his emotions naturally and freely. We will use the Chinese poetry of the Wei-Jin Period—a period that is strongly influenced by the philosophy of Zhuangzi, yet at the same time emphasizes the expression of the poet's emotion in poetry—as an example to show how fruitful it indeed is when Zhuangzi's philosophy becomes applied to Chinese poetry.