The Verifiability of Daoist Somatic Mystical Experience

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Mystical religious experiences typically purport to engage with the transcendent and often claim to involve encounters with spiritual entities or a detachment from the material world. Daoism diverges from this paradigm. This paper examines Daoist mystical experiences of bodily transformations and explores their epistemological implications. Specifically, we defend the justificatory power of Daoist somatic experiences against the disanalogy objection. The disanalogy objection posits that mystical experiences, in contrast to sense perceptions, are not socially verifiable and thereby lack prima facie epistemic value. We argue that some Daoist mystical bodily states, being essentially spatiotemporal, are exempt from this challenge. This leads to a broader understanding of mysticism and offers a partial resolution to the disanalogy objection.

Author Profiles

Xiaoxing Zhang
Université Paris-Sorbonne (PhD)
Wen (Bonny) Chen
Yunnan University


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