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Daoism

  • Jack Barbalet
Chapter

Abstract

Commentaries on The Religion of China focus on Weber’s treatment of Confucianism and ignore his treatment of Daoism, the other major Chinese thought tradition. This chapter corrects that omission. Weber’s use of sources in his construction of Daoism is examined and the chapter then critically considers his characterization of an early Daoist text, Daodejing, as mystical. Confucian ‘orthodoxy’ is contrasted with Daoist ‘heterodoxy’ in Weber’s account. It is shown in the chapter that this framework is a projection of European ideological and political practices inadequate for understanding Chinese institutions. These latter are indifferent to their subjects beliefs and concerned with their behavior, orthopraxy not orthodoxy. Finally, it is shown that Weber’s approach prevents appreciation of the contribution of Daoist thought to a Chinese entrepreneurial spirit.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack Barbalet
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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