This seminarargues that cosmological thought in the Warring States period was a multi-faceted discourse embedded with various ideas and concepts. “All Things Flow and Form” shares this basic outlook, formulating its premises and conclusions on various levels of the cosmological and human realms. The text is an example of the pre-Qin synthesis of political theory and cosmology and reflects the Warring States synthesis of the ancient schools of Chinese philosophy, integrating Confucian ethics with a fundamentally Daoist cosmology. Its primary concern is to establish a well-regulated state with an emphasis on the ruler’s understanding and imitation of heavenly pattern; the text does not denounce government affairs but preaches the efficiency of kingship, with the recognition of “yi” (oneness) as a precondition for governing and unifying a state.
Dr Shirley Chan is currently working on excavated Chu bamboo manuscripts dated to the fourth century BCE.She isHead of Chinese Studies, Department of International Studies and a member of the Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre.