Tracing Dao: A Comparison of Dao 道 in the Daoist Classics and Derridean "Trace"

Steven Burik
2020 Comparative and Continental Philosophy  
This paper draws a comparison between Derrida's "trace" and the idea of dao in classical Daoism (Laozi and Zhuangzi). It is argued that if dao is read in a non-metaphysical way, then the Derridean idea of "trace" will show large overlaps with dao. I then show how, despite some obvious differences, a "trace" reading of dao enables a clearer understanding of dao that would see it not as a metaphysical principle, ineffable but transcendent nonetheless, but rather as an immanent working of the
more » ... working of the patterned processes that makes up both the natural and human world. I also argue that the notion of trace in classical Daoism (ji 跡, literally footprints) or other characters denoting trace, are most often used in a more traditional way (as pointing to a lost presence) and hence are not useful for understanding what Derrida means with his notion of "trace."
doi:10.1080/17570638.2020.1710032 fatcat:bujeoqh5vjbdzemo3piiju3jb4