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Religions 2019, 10(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010032

Abnormalities and Return: An Exploration of the Concept Fan 反 in the Laozi

Department of Philosophy, Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Rd, Haidain District, Beijing 100871, China
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 28 December 2018 / Accepted: 30 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract

Laozi’s concept of fan 反 has many different interpretations. However, except for the fan character in chapter seventy-eight which says “appropriate language seems contradictory (fan 反)” where it obviously refers to contradictions or opposites (xiangfan 相反), all other appearances of this character should be explained as fan 返 (return). Return does not refer to opposites, nor does it refer to cyclicality. This point is illustrated through three main channels: first, we argue that in the Laozi, the character fan 反 was used as a phonetic loan for fan 返. Second, this paper shows that both fan and fugui 复归mean “return.” The third channel attempts to answer the questions of why and where the Laozi needs to advocate for the principle of return. View Full-Text
Keywords: Daoism; Laozi; abnormalities; return Daoism; Laozi; abnormalities; return
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wang, Z. Abnormalities and Return: An Exploration of the Concept Fan 反 in the Laozi. Religions 2019, 10, 32.

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