Abstract: The Logic of Tao Philosophy
Historical commentaries on the Tao Te Ching have indeed blurred the basic logic of Tao philosophy, to the extent that Tao Philosophy has become an inexplicable “ancient thought.” This article extracts a well-defined “Logic of Tao philosophy” from the first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, and shows that the logic of Lao-tzu is rather precise. His description of Tao is not “fuzzy and indeterminate” but has fully reflected the authentic characteristics of Tao.
From this logic, we can see clearly how Lao-tzu describes the special "one-and-many" relationship between the Heng Tao (恆道) and its manifestations, Heng Wu 恆無 and Heng Yu 恆有, and the basic logical principle of expressing reality in terms of our language. We call this principle, the Principle of Oneness. The logic of Lao-tzu regards “Heng Tao” as the center of Tao Philosophy and shows symmetry between Wu and Yu that conforms to the Tai Chi diagram. This theory directly invalidates the traditional view that "You comes from Wu 有生於無.
This may be a major turning point in Tao philosophy. We may establish a Tao philosophy with clear logic. The basic logic may be used in discussions of various philosophical themes. We not only can resolve reasonably many historical debates, but can also offer a discussion platform with other East and West philosophies.
Key Words: logic of Tao philosophy, You-Wu Debates, one-and-many relation, principle of oneness, trinity, Tai Chi, theory of forms, dualism, process philosophy