Cook Ding Parable by Zhuangzi

  • woojin jung Department of Philosophy, Kyung Hee University
  • Jeong-Kyu Han Brain Science Institute, Korea Institute of Science and Technology
Keywords: Artisan, Cognition, Ethics, Expert Performance, Self-cultivation, Skilled Coping


This study argues that the skill performance of Cook Ding in the Zhuangzi is an ethical model of Daoism by examining its cognitive characteristics and derives ethical implications based on the model. In the Zhuangzi, the most prominent stories are about artisans, who are portrayed as ideal beings. The ethics of the Zhuangzi is not a theory about the standards of conduct; instead, it is a description of the inner state of the sage and a system of theory and practice that can lead to such a state. This study suggests that the skilful performance of Cook Ding displays practical rationality, if not abstract reflection and that it is an autotelic self-cultivation process. Based on these suggestions, the study derives two ethical implications from Cook Ding’s performance: i) the skill performance of the artisan can be regarded as not only an economic means but also a process of self-cultivation. ii) even if the other beings to whom we respond in the market are means to sustain our lives, we should treat them as beings with whom we share a symbiotic relationship.


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How to Cite
jung, woojin, & Han, J.-K. (2023). SKILL PERFORMANCE OF ARTISANS AS AN ETHICAL MODEL. Journal of Dharma, 48(1), 29-46. Retrieved from

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