Treatise on the Border (邊界論)

Tyler Neenan

PhD Student, UChicago Divinity School

Zhuangzi tells, in Chapter 22 (Knowinghood Journeyed North) of “boundaries that do no bounding,” and of a “boundlessness that nevertheless bounds.” So then one might wonder—for Zhuangzi, are there boundaries or are there no boundaries? In the first installment of a joint series on Zhuangzi & Absolute Division, I take this question up in a short experimental piece, showing how Zhuangzi will refuse both of these bivalent answers, walking instead two roads (兩行) at once, affirming not only the absolute ubiquity of boundaries and borders, but also the a priori impossibility thereof. 

Both this paper as well as Chiayu Hsu’s paper to be presented next week in the second installment of the joint series, entitled Division(s) and Transformation(s): Five Cognitive Stations in the Delimitation of Things (有分與物化:知物的五層封野) were originally written in Chinese. But although we’ve chosen to present them in bi-lingual format, with the Chinese and English side-by-side, conversation will be held in English. No prior background in Chinese is required!

Thursday, May 13th, 6:30pm CT

Please note the new start time of 6:30pm. 

The workshop will focus on a pre-circulated paper (available here) and will be largely discussion-based. 

Please contact for the Zoom link. 


The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop.  Please contact Workshop Coordinators Tyler Neenan ( or Rebekah Rosenfeld ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.

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