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This book is a collaborative, comaprative study of the relgious thought of Zhuangzi, a fourth century B.C.E. Chinese Daoist, and Søren Kierkegaard, a nineteenth century Danish Christian. After offering a sense of the historical and intellectual contexts of each thinker, we argue that they develop distinct but related conceptions of a view we call anti-rationalism. We show how antirationalism characterizes their respective philosophies, helps us make sense of important aspects of their thought, and addresses issues that continue to fascinate reflective individuals today.
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Building on the pioneering work of A. C. Graham, Carr and Ivanhoe here offer a revised version of their fascinating comparative analysis of the early Chinese thinker Zhuangzi and the nineteenth century protestant thinker Søren Kierkegaard. Written in a lucid and pithy style, the study argues well for the particular readings of Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard in light of each other, and for the cross-cultural category of 'antirationalism.' As such, this book is an outstanding example of typological analysis in comparative studies of religious thought and serves as a model for future work. The themes are well chosen and yield many unexpected insights, for example, into both authors' varied uses of humor to stimulate crucial religious realizations. This is truly a thought-provoking book. (Aaron Stalnaker, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University)
As brilliant philosophers who reveled in the spiritual aspects of life, Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard argued against an excessive trust in abstract and impersonal reasoning. This study by Carr and Ivanhoe not only features rigorous scholarship and original insight but also presents an exemplary model of the best kind of comparative philosophy. (David W. Tien, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore)
Rigorous, imaginative, and clearly written, The Sense of Antirationalism offers a wealth of descriptive and conceptual insight. The book builds from detailed and original studies of Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard on reason, salvation and philosophical style. Comparative reflections yield further observations about each thinker and also inspire the general category of 'antirationalism' as a compelling philosophical stance. This book shows us what true collaborative research can attain. (Jonathan W. Schofer, Associate Professor of Comparative Ethics, Harvard Divinity School)