The Hedonistic Philosophy Of Yang Zhu

It is an unhappy fate for a philosopher to be known to posterity only through his enemies.  Quotes may be taken out of context, writings may be warped or obfuscated, and conclusions may be cherry-picked to present a picture far out of accord from the writer’s original intention.  We do not know if this is precisely the fate of the Chinese philosopher Yang Zhu (440-360 B.C.), but one suspects that if more of his writings had come down to us, we might have a more favorable view of his doctrines.  But we have what we have, and this does not exactly inspire man’s noblest sentiments.  Or does it?  Each reader will have to judge for himself.  It would be wrong to ignore him, even if we disagree with his doctrines.

Continue reading