A Chinese philosopher lived in late 4th century BC but influenced the world afterwards.

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Who was Zhuangzi?

Zhuangzi was a Taoist philosopher active during the late Warring States Period, whose approach to Taoism was contradictory, absurd, and at times humorous pointing out the futility of the search for deeper meaning. This line of thought came largely as a reaction to the Confucianist dogma of the time, which promoted rigorous traditionalism as the way of the Tao. Zhuangzi thought this to be ridiculous, and set out through his writings to teach Taoism in a much more relative way.


We selected the first nine chapters of The Zhuangzi for markup, using a translation by Oxford linguist James Legge (1815-97) found here. These passages are known collectively as the 'inner chapters' of The Zhuangzi, because they are generally agreed upon by scholars to actually be written by Zhuangzi, and not a student or follower. We also included selected passages from Confucius, chosen for their succinct presentation of Confucian ideals.


Our goal with our project was to understand and quantify the linguistic techniques used by Zhuangzi in relation to the philosophical points he makes in his work, as well as how he argues these topics.



Hanwen is a senior majoring in Material Science and Engineering and minoring in German. He has been interested in Chinese philosophy from a young age.


Sam is a junior majoring in History of Art and Architecture and minoring in Museum Studies and Swedish. He became interested in Zhuangzi after reading select passages for a philosophy class.