Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi

Edited by Karyn Lai and Wai Wai Chiu

Reference: Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi. Edited by Karyn Lai and Wai Wai Chiu. London: Rowman and Littlefield International, 2019. 308 p. ISBN: 978-1-78660-913-7.

Editors: Karyn Lai (University of New South Wales) and Wai Wai Chiu (Lingnan University, Hongkong)

Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi presents an illuminating analysis of skill stories from the Zhuangzi, a 4th century BCE Daoist text. In this intriguing text that subverts conventional norms and pursuits, ordinary activities such as swimming, cicada-catching and wheelmaking are executed with such remarkable efficacy and spontaneity that they seem like magical feats. An international team of scholars explores these stories in their philosophical, historical and political contexts. Their analyses’ highlight the stories’underlying conceptions of agency, character and cultivation; and relevance to contemporary debates on human action and experience. The result is a valuable collection, opening up new lines of inquiry in comparative East-West philosophical debates on skill, cultivation and mastery, as well as cross-disciplinary debates in psychology, cognitive science and philosophy.