Lionel Giles (essay date 1912)
SOURCE: Introduction to Wisdom of the East, Taoist Teachings: From the Book of Lieh Tzu, translated by Lionel Giles, John Murray, 1912, pp. 9-16.
[In the essay that follows, Giles locates the book of Lieh Tzu in the more general context of Taoist philosophy, including the thought of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu.]
The history of Taoist philosophy may be conveniently divided into three stages: the primitive stage, the stage of development, and the stage of degeneration. The first of these stages is only known to us through the medium of a single semi-historical figure, the philosopher Lao Tzŭ, whose birth is traditionally assigned to the year 604 B.C. Some would place the...
(The entire section is 1802 words.)