The bamboo slip essay Hengxian 恒先 is historically valuable because it serves to further the ontological understanding and comprehension of issues related to the existence of the universe from the perspective of Laozi’s Daoist thought. Hengxian explores important propositions such as how “Qi originated and activated itself” and “they came out of the same source but differed in nature” from several aspects. The idea that “Hengxian is ‘being’ without any definiteness” responds to the issue of the relationship of difference and identity of all things in the world, and thus examines the interdependent relationships between subjects and objects. It proposes that humans can further understand the existence of the universe through cognitive activities and practices such as “analysis and comparison” in which objective realities are checked. The issues discussed in Hengxian are consistent with Laozi’s Dao de jing, the works of Zhuangzi, Huangdi sijing 黄帝四经 (The Four Classics from the Emperor Yellow) and other Daoist works, and deserve significant attention.
Fully embracing previous achievements in the research of Taoist philosophy, this paper attempts to create a sound analysis and investigation of the value concern of Taoism and reconstruct a new set of Taoist philosophy conforming to the requirement of modern science from the perspective of modern philosophy. The author sincerely wishes that the preliminary understanding of the Taoist philosophy presented in this paper would contribute to the construction of the Taoist philosophy.
The endangered giant panda is the flagship species of wildlife conservation, a status that results in heightened attention to their well-being. However, one factor that hinders the ability to monitor this species in the wild is the difficulty to measure relevant physiological parameters which quantify the survival status in conservation research. In this study, we employed a non-invasive sampling method and immunochemical assays to determine if measurement of fecal steroid hormones is a viable option in monitoring the sex ratios and stress levels of a giant panda population. The results indicate that 1) the yearly concentration of fecal testosterone is a possible biomarker for distinguishing gender, and 2) invasive methods of artificial insemination and semen collection as well as parturition, cause an increase in fecal cortisol concentration. This study suggests that the noninvasive sampling of feces can be a practical tool to monitor physiological stress in free-ranging and fenced giant panda populations, and could be useful in the forthcoming giant panda census in determining sex ratios in the wild.