On November 10, 2021, Professor of the Department of Philosophy of East China Normal University, researcher of the Institute of Modern Chinese Thought and Culture of the Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Executive Vice President of the Institute of Chinese Wisdom, East China Normal University Professor Zhu Cheng, the supervisor and doctoral supervisor, came to our school and used the "Tencent Meeting" to conduct academic lectures for our students in an online format. The lecture was hosted by Professor Wu Xianwu, the dean of the Department of Philosophy of our school. Students from our school and other domestic universities actively participated online.
Professor Zhu Cheng has been engaged in the teaching and research of Chinese philosophy for a long time, and has made great achievements in the field of Confucian political philosophy. This time he turned his attention to Taoist political philosophy, with the title of "The Political Philosophy of 'Zhuangzi·Replying the Emperor'". The students who came here brought a gluttonous feast of thoughts. In this lecture, Professor Zhu Cheng launched an analysis of "Zhuangzi·Replying the Emperor" from the perspective of political philosophy. Professor Zhu believes that "Replying the Emperor" discusses the issue of "how to deal with public life". In this chapter, Zhuangzi expresses his views on the governance of the emperor and believes that the emperor should gain the rule of the world by doing nothing; At the same time, it also pointed out a reasonable way for the public to cope with it, advocating that the public should adapt to nature, adapt to the world in chaos, and passively deal with infinite changes in a limited life, so as to avoid external interference and better dominate their own lives. Professor Zhu pointed out that in Zhuangzi's view, neither the emperor nor the people should interfere with others with their own will, nor should they be confused and controlled by others. Instead, they should eliminate their own ingenuity and treat the mind as a mirror. Instead of intervening in public life, individual spiritual freedom can be realized in the negative response of "don't do what" and "don't be what". At the same time, Professor Zhu also pointed out from another aspect that the concept of freedom proposed by Zhuangzi to maintain a chaotic state not only implies the negative freedom of living according to one's own will without being interfered by others, but also has a certain degree of renunciation of public responsibility. Due to limitations, we should take a comprehensive view of Zhuangzi’s unique thinking.
Afterwards, Professor Zhu answered in detail the questions raised by the teachers and students, helped everyone to understand Zhuangzi's thoughts more deeply, and recommended the current better annotated version of "Zhuangzi" for everyone. At the end of the lecture, Professor Zhu reminded everyone that at the beginning of philosophy, you must think about general philosophical issues that transcend the difference between ancient and modern China and the West. The lecture ended successfully in a warm atmosphere, and everyone expressed their gratitude to Professor Zhu online.
Professor Zhu's language is easy to understand without losing profound connotations. His research not only draws on the research results of predecessors, but also has his own unique theoretical ideas; his lectures include both a retelling of the original text and an in-depth theoretical analysis; his explanations are well-informed, logically coherent, word-by-word, and fascinating. This lecture has a high academic level and academic value. It not only broadens the research horizons of the teachers and students, deepens their understanding of Taoist political philosophy, and stimulates the academic enthusiasm of all the teachers and students to study Chinese philosophy. It also provides a valuable opportunity for learning and interaction for teachers and students interested in philosophical research in various domestic colleges and universities, promote academic exchanges and cooperation between different institutions, and also play a certain role in promoting the long-term development of domestic philosophy.