Musement as Listening: Daoist Perspectives on Peirce


MICHAEL L. RAPOSA, Professor, Department of Religion Studies, Lehigh University. Specialties: philosophy of religion, American pragmatism, the thought of Charles S. Peirce. E-mail:


Certain Daoist ideas explored here are compared with features of Peirce's philosophy, supplying a helpful perspective on the latter. In particular, I examine Zhuangzi's instruction about “listening” with one's spirit, along with certain discussions of “listening energy” drawn from texts dealing with the Daoist martial arts. I argue that Daoist “listening” and Peirce's concept of “musement” are both to be regarded as a disciplined form of attentiveness. By attending to no predetermined thing, a person thus disciplined is “ready” for the encounter with what might otherwise remain unperceived in experience, prepared to listen to voices that might otherwise be ignored.