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05/08/2019

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Chris Stephens

Roger - the levels structure to the assignments sounds interesting.

On a slightly orthogonal note, I've tried to teach Zhuāngzǐ with Sextus before, but I've struggled to find the right bits from Zhuāngzǐ. If I can ask: what bits do you have them read from it? I've tried to pair him with the relativism discussion by Protagoras in the Theaetetus as well, but to mixed results. I assume you do the bits on the problem of the criterion - do you do a lot more than that?

Roger Clarke

Hi Chris! (Speaking of people I should thank for anything I know about teaching....)

Mostly we focus on Chapter 2, and that's all I require students to read, but I recommend reading all the inner chapters. Other bits of note: I tend to bring up the skill stories from chapter 3 when students are tempted toward thinking that Zhuangzi thinks we can't know anything, or that he recommends some kind of paralysis; and a bunch of the optional readings talk about the happy fish story in chapter 17. I'm not sure exactly which bits would count as being on the problem of the criterion (that's not a connection I draw explicitly), but I'd guess you have in mind the bit in chapter 2 with the "How would I know that?" dialogue. Am I close?

Our discussion of chapter 2 tends to focus on the passages starting with (in the Ziporyn translation) "But human speech is not just a blowing of air." The stuff afterward has natural parallels with perspective-relativity & sceptical non-assertion in Sextus. This Lisa Raphals article does a lot to directly compare Zhuangzi & Sextus (even though Plato's the one who makes it into the title), and my students seem to find it helpful: https://philpapers.org/rec/RAPSSI

Chris Stephens

Thanks, Roger! Very helpful.
c

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