Tao as a Philosophy

We no longer need to accept Tao philosophy as a mysterious Chinese philosophy, as claimed by many Chinese; or as a mere Chinese “thought,” as claimed by many Western philosophers. Tao is simply an ancient philosophy that is very similar to many other philosophies on nature. The Tao Te Ching can no longer defy our attempts to put it on a logical framework.

Furthermore, we do not have to insist that Tao philosophy is a Chinese-only philosophy that cannot be analyzed with Western thinking and logic. Instead, we have shown that there is a definite principle and a clear logic based on the words of Lao-tzu and can be presented without Eastern flavor. We should emphasize that the principle of Tao philosophy is similar to many other Eastern or Western philosophical thinking.

For this reason, we may affirm that Tao is an authentic philosophy; for the same reason, we have shown that Tao philosophy is certainly not a Chinese-only way of thinking. The East and West were much closer than we had thought before.

The apparent mysteries of Tao are mostly due to historical conflicting interpretations. From our discussions, the characteristics of Tao philosophy are not more mysterious than the Pre-Socratic, the Buddhist, or many modern philosophies. As we can see in our modeling, Tao is not more mysterious than our modern scientific concept of complementarity.

In fact, Lao-tzu is highly logical in his presentation of the principle of Tao. His observations deserve our careful attention. We cannot ridicule at Lao-tzu any longer.[1] We can no longer treat the words of Lao-tzu as fragments of an unclear philosophy. Instead, we have to take his words seriously. With this new understanding of his logic, we can show that the 81 chapters of the Tao Te Ching are logical and consistent descriptions of the principle of Tao.

We have formulated the model based on the Tao Te Ching, but the final model deals with the most fundamental question in philosophy: The First Principle about the nature of reality. Being a first principle, the thoughts of Lao-tzu may be applied to many diverse philosophical topics. Many of these topics appear in the Tao Te Ching as examples.

[1]     Chapter 41: The mediocre scholars, hearing of Tao, burst into laughter. (下士聞道,大笑之。)

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