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Sellmann Publishes Paper in Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies


Dr. James SellmannDr. James Sellmann, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences published his paper "Two Paths to Self-Realization: Übermensch and Zhenren," in the Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 1 (Issue 21), June 2014. He was invited, with all expenses paid, to present "A Way of Learning: Bridging Ancient Chinese Philosophy of Education with Contemporary Learning Assessment and Learning Organizations," at the International Conference on Classics and College Education in an Age of Globalization at National Taiwan University, July 31 to August 1, 2014.

Below is the abstract:

This paper explicates the terms Übermensch and zhenren as different models for achieving self-realization, arguing that Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Zhuangzi 莊子 (369?-286 BCE) are not presenting a human ideal of perfectibility. They are describing, and attempting to evoke, a life-affirmative attitude crucial to their understandings of self-realization. After a brief discussion of the meaning of "self-realization," Nietzsche's and Zhuangzi's respective understandings of society and nature are explicated to show how the Übermensch and zhenren differ. Their differences in tone are discussed by examining four shared motifs, namely the mountain tree, the roaring wind, the wanderer, and the thief. Nietzsche's approach entails the exercise of the will to power and some anxiety. Zhuangzi's path is carefree and easy going with a lack of anxiety. They offer two different approaches that can inform our own projects.