History of Logic from Aristotle to Gödel (www.historyoflogic.com)

by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc@ontology.co

Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient China. First Part A - Che


This part of the section Intercultural logic includes the following pages:

History of Logic in Ancient China

Ancient Chinese Logic (a survey of contemporary studies)

Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient China A - Che (Current page)

Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient China Chm - Fun

Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient China Gal - Luc

Bibliography on Language and Logic in Ancient China Mae - Z

Studies in English (A - Che)

  1. "Special Issue on Gonsung Long “White Horse Is Not Horse” (Baima Fei Ma)"." 2007. Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 34.

    Contents: Cheng Chung-Ying: Preface 463; Bo Mou: Introduction: Methodological Notes 465; Chad Hansen: Prolegomena to Future Solutions to "White Horse Is Not Horse" 473; Bo Mou: A Double-Reference Account: Gongsun Long's "White-Horse-Not-Horse" Thesis 493; Yiu-Ming Fung: A Logical Perspective on "Discourse on White-Horse 515; Cheng Chung-Ying: Reinterpreting Gongsun Longzi and Critical Comments on Other Interpretations 537-560.

  2. "The History of Logic in China." 2011. Studies in Logic no. 4.

    Contents: Liu Fenrong, Jeremy Seligman, Johan van Benthem: The History of Logic in China: An introduction 1; Christoph Harbsmeier: A Reading of the Guōdiàn 郭店 Manuscript Yǔcóng 語叢 1 as a Masterpiece of Early Chinese Analytic Philosophy and Conceptual Analysis 3; Fenrong Liu, Limin Xie, Johan van Benthem: Models of Reasoning in Ancient China 57; Thierry Lucas: Basic Concepts of Mohist Logic 82; Karel L. van der Leeuw: Aristotelian and Mohist Conceptions of Logic and Language 109; Wujin Yang: Valid Reasoning in Ancient China from the Perspective of Modern Logic 115; Jincheng Zhai: A New Interpretation of Reasoning Patterns in Mohist Logic 126; Five Questions on the History of Chinese Logic: a First Glimpse 145-152.

  3. "Neo-Moist or later Moist logic." 2012. Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 39.

    Contents: Chung‐Ying Cheng: Preface: Chinese Logic as Threefold: Reference, Meaning and Use 325; Yiu-Ming Fung: Introduction: Language and Logic in Later Moism 327; Yiu-Ming Fung: A Logical Perspective on the Parallelism in Later Moism 333; Chris Fraser: Truth in Moist Dialectics 351; Dan Robins: Names, Cranes, and the Later Moists 369; Thierry Lucas: Definitions in the Upper Part of the Moist Canons 386; Jinmei Yuan: Analogical Propositions in Moists Texts 404; Chaehyun Chong: Xunzi's Sanhuo (Three Types of Cognitive Delusions) 424; Chien‐Hsing Ho: One Name, Infinite Meanings: Jizang's Thought on Meaning and Reference 436-452.

  4. Alt, Wayne E. 1991. "Logic and Language in the Chuang Tzu." Asian Philosophy: An International Journal of the Philosophical Traditions of the East no. 1:61-76.

    "It is difficult to deny that there are passages in Chuang Tzu that seem to suggest mystical themes. Yet it cannot be denied that many, if not most, of the passages from this work, have nothing to do with mysticism. By attending to some of these passages, I will argue for an alternative interpretation of Chuang Tzu. My alternative runs contrary to the predominant mystical interpretation. Instead of discussing transcendental unities, it emphasises the efforts of thoughtful men to understand the ways of the world in which they live, and to enrich their daily lives by perfecting the practice of the arts.

    One of Chuang Tzu's major concerns was to unravel and expose the fallacies of the learned, especially those whose conclusions threatened to undermine principles requisite for the practice of the arts. To discredit the theories of men like Hui Tzu required that Chuang Tzu develop remarkably sophisticated methods of reasoning and analysis.

    As such, he has frequently been misunderstood, even by twentieth century commentators, as drawing conclusions which refer to a dimension that transcends ordinary human understanding. Indeed, since his antagonists sometimes disregarded the constraints of normal discourse and challenged fundamental principles of reason and good sense, Chuang Tzu's philosophical critiques themselves sometimes appear to transcend these limits. A. C. Graham has even argued that Chuang Tzu "abandoned reason" and "rejected logic"." (pp. 62-63)

  5. Ames, Roger T., and Nakajima, Takahiro, eds. 2015. Zhuangzi and the Happy Fish. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press.

    Contents: Introduction 1; 1 Hideki Yukawa: Zhuangzi: The Happy Fish 23; 2 Hans Peter Hoffmann: Yuzhile: The Joy of Fishes, or, The Play on Words 30; 3 Chad Hansen: The Relatively Happy Fish; 50; 4 Eske Janus Møllgard: Zhuangzi’s Notion of Transcendental Life 78; 5 Yat Shing Sham: Knowledge and Happiness in the Debate over the Happiness of the Fish (translated by Joseph Harroff); 102; 6 Norman Y. Teng: The Relatively Happy Fish Revisited 130; 7 Toshio Kuwaro: Knowing the Joy of Fish: The Zhuangzi and Analytic Philosophy (translated by Carl M. Johnson) 141; 8 Longxi Zhang: Of Fish and Knowledge: On the Validity of Cross-Cultural Understanding 149; 9 Takahiro Nakajima: Zhuangzi and Theories of the Other (translated by Carl M. Johnson) 170; 10 Franklin Perkins: Of Fish and Men: Species Difference and the Strangeness of Being Human in the Zhuangzi 182; 11 Xiaoqiang Han: The Happy Fish of the Disputers 206; 12 Feng Peng: Fact and Experience: A Look at the Root of Philosophy from the Happy Fish Debate 229; 13 Hans-Georg Moeller: Rambling without Destination: On Daoist “You-ing” in the World 248; 14 Roger T. Ames: “Knowing” as the “Realizing of Happiness” Here, on the Bridge, over the River Hao 261; Contributors 291; Index 295-298.

  6. Andrš, Dušan. 1998. "Gongsun Long's Baima lun: a Semiotic Argument." Tamkang Review no. 26:47-75.

    Abstract: "The article offers re-reading of one of the most prominent writings on logic in ancient China notorious for its ambiguous and evasive nature - Gongsun Long's Baima Jun - from the logical semantics and linguistic semiotics point of view. Previous interpretations of Baima Jun, which attributed to its alleged author either bringing in of abstract universals or introducing of nominalistic speculations into the philosophical debate of the day, serve as a point of departure for the interpretative theory based on re-examination of the two debating points in the contemporary philosophical discussion-Doctrine of Rectification of Names and Debate of Name and Substance. Present rereading suggests that Gongsun Long's dialogue effectively challenges the Neo-Mohists' non-problematic assessment of conditions needed for a successful logical discourse by stressing the key importance of a semiotic aspect of the logical reasoning.

    Moreover, the possibility of restating Gongsun Long's arguments in the wording of Saussurean semiotics indicates the conceivability of Baima Jun's interpretation as an implicit theory of linguistic signs."

  7. Assandri, Friederike, and Meisterernst, Barbara. 2019. "Chinese Philosophy, Religions and Language." In The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Linguistics, edited by Huang, Chu-Ren, Jing-Schmidt, Zhuo and Meisterernst, Barbara, 9-27. New York: Routledge.

    "The pre-Qin philosophers’ preoccupation with language focused on the question of designations, 名 míng ‘names’, and their relation to referents as things in the world, 實 shí ‘actualities’. The issue was the pragmatic assertability and acceptability (Tanaka 2004: 192) of terms, rather than the question of whether language represents reality in a way that is “true”. Thus, the focus of philosophizing was on how to establish acceptable relations between names and actualities, with a view to the normative functions and the pedagogical and epistemological effectiveness of language.

    Confucius (Kongzi 孔子) and Laozi 老子, both major reference points for later thinkers, developed two fundamentally different approaches to the relation of names and their referents, contingent with their respective direction of philosophical inquiry. Preoccupied with questions relating to social order, Confucius focused on the normative function of names in establishing and ordering social relations, while Laozi’s philosophical inquiry was directed at questions about the relation of humans to an ultimate reality he called Dao. Thus, Laozi focused on the epistemological question of whether language and names are a viable means to understand, or “grasp”, this ultimate reality."


    Tanaka, Koji. 2004. The limit of language in Daoism. Asian Philosophy 14(2): 191–205.

  8. Bao, Zhiming. 1987. "Abstraction, Ming-Shi, and Problems of Translation." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 14:419-444.

    "This paper is divided into four interrelated sections. First, I shall discuss the thesis that Chinese cannot express abstraction. This I shall refer to as the no-abstraction thesis. I will argue that this no-abstraction thesis is misconceived, and stems from a naive assumption that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the structure of language and the structure of thought, whence comes the belief that the expression of abstract entities must depend on certain grammatical devices. A lack of such devices has been taken as evidence for a nominalistic language and a philosophy that has no abstract entities. This assumption also seems to presuppose that for each linguistic sign, redness for example, there exists some entity such that the sign stands in the relation of naming to that entity.

    Related to the no-abstraction thesis is the contention that Chinese philosophy, especially pre-Han, is nominalistic. Gongsun Long's thought, for example, entertains no abstract entities. And the Neo-moists do not talk about any intermediary between ming and shi commonly translated as 'name' and 'object', respectively. Some attention will be paid to this translation, to see whether it contributes to labeling Neo-Moist semantics as nominalistic. Throughout the paper, I will analyse briefly some classical texts, mainly Pai ma lun, the white horse dialogue of Gong sun Long (in Ill) and the Neo-Moist Canons (in IV). If we carefully analyse a few grammatical points in the Gongsun Long text, which have hitherto been overlooked, we will arrive at an interpretation which calls for abstract entities. As for the Canons, it will be argued, speculative though the argument may be, that a Fregean interpretation of Neo-Moist semantics is, with some qualification, also consistent with the text." (pp. 419-420, a note omitted)

  9. ———. 1990. "Language and World View in Ancient China." Philosophy East and West no. 40:195-219.

    "My main objective in this article is to demonstrate that a common conception of language, which I will call the classical conception of language, serves as a thread which runs across the various theories of language advanced by these thinkers. The classical conception of language does not view language as a mere descriptive tool that is a separate entity independent of the world which it describes. Rather, language and the world are inseparably bound up.

    Language is able to describe the world by virtue of an isomorphic fit between them. By "isomorphic" or "isomorphic fit" I mean this: A is isomorphic with B if, for each event Ei which affects A, there is a corresponding event Ej which affects B, and Ei and Ej may, but need not, be the same event.(1) As anillustration, let us consider a hypothetical belief that the anger of heavenly spirits may have as its consequence the fall of a particular kingdom. An event Ei in heaven (the spirits getting angry) corresponds to an event Ej in human society (the fall of the kingdom). Within that belief system, heavenly affairs (among them the anger of the spirits) and human affairs (among them the fall of the kingdom) have an isomorphic fit." (p. 195)

    (1) The definition of "isomorphic fit" is rather strong, since to show that two systems are isomorphic one must show that for each event which affects one system there is a corresponding event which affects the other system. This involves the notion of sets of all events, which is untenable within the context of our inquiry. In other words, it may be impossible to construct a set of all events or other entities relevant to the exposition of the relationship between language and the world. The intuition behind the definition is clear. It strikes home the property of interdependence between language and the world in the conception of language in ancient China.

  10. Beaney, Michael. 2021. "Swimming Happily in Chinese Logic." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 121:355-379.

    "The Zhuangzi is the richest and most intellectually challenging of all the texts of ancient Chinese philosophy, and it is full of stories which have been interpreted in a wide variety of ways over the subsequent two millennia. It is one of the founding texts of Daoism, but it is also central to the entire landscape of ancient Chinese thought. In this paper I want to explore some of the logical features of this landscape by focusing on the happy fish dialogue and addressing what we can call the problem of Chinese logic. Are there distinctive forms of argumentation and analysis in ancient Chinese thinking and/or distinctive logical conceptions and theories? Or can Chinese reasoning be analysed and entirely explained by modern forms of logic, such as propositional logic and quantificational theory? What implications does this have for how we interpret historical texts?

    In what follows, I will first say more about the problem of Chinese logic (§ii) before introducing the Zhuangzi and the happy fish dialogue (§iii). I will then elucidate the key concepts involved in this dialogue (§iv) and discuss selected interpretations of it (§v). I conclude by returning to the Chinese logic dialogue, which frames my analysis of the happy fish dialogue, in drawing out the hermeneutic implications (§vi)." (pp. 355-356)

  11. Benesch, Walter. 1991. "The Place of Chinese Logics in Comparative Logics: Chinese Logics Revisited." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 18:309-331.

    "It was my intt!rest as a philosopher in the assumptions and origins of logics, and then my concern as a teacher in developing a cross-cultural approach that first led me into comparative logics.· I have since come to realize that the understanding of any particular logic must involve the ability to view that logic from the questions, problems and perspectives of other systems. Thus my paper represents both my experiences and my recommendations as an educator "in the field of logics. I shall offer four theses for consideration." (p. 309)


    "My fourth thesis is that there is indeed a "Chinese logic," and that it is not only possible to clearly identify it, but it can and will prove an indispensible part of the thinking techniques and methodologies that we use to explore ourselves and the world." (p. 319)


    "Chinese logics are inferential vehicles for accommodating different and changing aspects of human thought and experience. Meaning is a perspective upon change and process. Being arises from non-being through change. Aspect logic presupposes a synthesis of being and non-being, the changing and change."

  12. ———. 1993. "The Euclidean Egg (1), the Three Legged Chinese Chicken (2)." Journal of Chinese philosophy no. 20:109-131.

    “Contextual vs. Formal Approaches to Reason and Logics”

    An Approach to Comparative Philosophy & Logics.

    "In the spirit of the three-legged Chinese chicken and the Euclidean egg, I will begin my paper with the suggestion that there are at least three positions on the question as to which came first, the chicken or the egg. . . ?

    The first assumes the chicken. Thls is the Aristotelean view that any actual entity is the fulfilment of a potential which is determined and defined by a prior actuality.


    The second assumes the egg. This reflects a contemporary view in biology and genetics.


    The third assumes the question itself must come first for its very asking presupposes sets of temporal, spatial, and linguistic interpretations, distinctions and contexts - none of which either is or isn’t a chicken or an egg."


    "I believe this third position reflects a fundamental difference in the locus of the thinker in the world about which she/he thinks. It is sharedin common by a number of philosophers East/West, but since the three legged chicken is a specifically Chinese paradox, I should like to explore it with a number of Chinese philosophers as I understand them. I also believe this position is the essence of what I would call Chinese aspect/perspective logic. It is the exploration of this third position on the chicken/egg uestion and its contrast with the presuppositions of both the chicken and the egg schools in philosophy and science that is the substance of my paper, an argument for and a demonstration of a comparative approach to philosophy and logic." (pp. 109-110)

    (1) “A Point is that which denotes position, without possessing any magnitude.” (Euclid: Elements, Bk. I, Definitions; Law, Henry: The Elements of Euclid, John Weale, London, 1853, p. 2),

    (2) “A fowl has three legs” (Paradox of app. 4th Cent. B.C.; Hu Shih: The Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China, Oriental Book Co., Shanghai, 1928, p. 118).

    "As to the paradoxes: ‘ A fowl has three legs ' ; and 'A brown horse and dark ox make three,’ the Kung-sun Lung-tzu (ch. 4) says : “ The speaking about the leg of a fowl is one. Its number of legs is two. Two and one make three. The speaking about the leg of an ox and ram is one. The number of their legs is four. Four and one make five ” (p. 75)." Fung Yu-Lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 1, Princeton: Princeton University Press 1952, p. 217,

  13. Benesch, Walter, and Wilner, Eduardo. 2002. "Continuum Logic: A Chinese contribution to knowledge and understanding in philosophy and science." Journal of Chinese Philosophy:471-494.

    "In the following analysis, we shall offer two propositions for consideration:

    1. There is a continuum logic implicit in traditional Chinese philosophy.

    2. This continuum logic has particular relevance for the pursuit of knowledge and understanding in philosophy and the sciences in contemporary “participant/spectator” views of the universe.

    We have divided our discussion of the above propositions into three sections: The first considers contemporary philosophical perspectives in the sciences, especially biology; the second presents various approaches to logics, and proposes viewing logics and consciousness as related aspects of a mind and nature continuum; the third offers an exposition of Chinese continuum logic and its applications in the acquisition of knowledge and understanding." (p. 471)

  14. Benická, Jana, and Hubina, Miloš. 2013. "Gongsun Long— A Somehow Aristotelian Reading." In Talking Literature: Essays on Chinese and Biblical Writings and Their Interaction, edited by Findeisen, Raoul David and Slobodnik, Martin, 21-31. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

    "Regarding the previous treatment of the Discourse on the White Horse (especially its key sentence—bai ma fei ma ‘a white horse is not a horse’), two basic interpretative approaches have been assumed so far: abstract and nominalistic." (p. 12)


    "Our ‘Aristotelian’ reading of the text, based on our own translation, is an attempt to suggest an interpretation under which the text, taken as a whole, makes sense and is logically consistent, not a historical reconstruction of the original intentions of the author. We argue that the logical consistency of the text is perfectly maintained if we read it as an example of the standard problem of predication, a central issue with ontological relevance for Aristotle. It can be described as a pondering over what do we do when we say that something is something (else)? And how the two things that in sentence assume places of subject and predicate exist in the world? Obviously, in an assertive statements we (1) strip the subject of the quality we are to ascribe to it (otherwise it would be indistinguishable from the attribute) and we set it apart as a subject of predication only to (2) claim, in the assertion, that the attribute actually belongs to it or is identical with it. This process of separating the subject and attribute for the very sake of claiming their connection invokes the question of the status of the ‘disjoined’ abstract entities (substance–attribute, subject–predicate) and the relation between them. Since there is no explicit denial of substance or essence(9)

    in the text and, contrary to it, the Master and Disciple alike clearly differentiate between essential and accidental qualities, we feel free to presuppose that substance-attribute (container—content) structure the basic cognitive structure determining not only Aristotelian or ‘Western’ but human thinking about the world is not denied here. No theoretically costly Buddhist-like attack on substance is apparent. Hence no ‘non-Western’ philosophical footing." (pp. 13-14)

    (9) Substance as a carrier of all qualities and essence as a ‘core’ determining ‘what thing really is’.

  15. Bloom, Alfred H. 1981. The Linguistic Shaping of Thought: A Study in the Impact of Language on Thinking in China and the West. Hillsdale: Laurence Erlbauim Associates.

    "The question of whether the language we speak may shape the way we think rarely fails to excite the imagination of anyone who considers it for the first time and rarely fails to hold, from that point on, at least a lingering fascination and intuitive appeal. When bilingual speakers of two linguistically unrelated languages are asked whether they think they think differently when using each of their languages, they almost invariably answer "yes." When English speakers, who have extensive experience with monolingual speakers of non-Indo-European languages, are asked whether it is their impression that speakers of the non-Indo-European languages think differently from the way they themselves think, as a result of language, they likewise just about invariably answer "yes." When translators of works drawn from literary traditions of unrelated languages are asked whether there is a language/thought barrier to overcome in translation, they usually find it hard to surpress a smile at so "naive" a question. Yet when psychologists are asked whether they think languages shape thought, they are as likely as not to say "no." When linguists are asked whether they think languages shape thought, they are as likely as not to respond that the question is not one with which the discipline of linguistics should concern itself; and when the work of the dominant empirical traditions of psychology, philosophy, and linguistics for the past fifty years is scanned for treatments of the question of whether or not languages shape thought, it quickly becomes evident that within these traditions that question, for one reason or another, never seemed to be a legitimate one or a relevant one to ask." (pp. 1-2)

  16. Bodde, Derek. 1939. "Types of Chinese Categorical Thinking." Journal of the American Oriental Society no. 59:200-219.

    "One of the criticisms levelled by westerners against Chinese philosophy is that it has failed to develop a system of logic. Like most sweeping criticisms, this is not absolutely true, for during the fourth and third centuries B. C., the followers of the Mohist school do appear to have experimented with methods of thinking in many ways comparable to our western logic.' The statement remains true, however, to the extent that this school did not long survive, and that it failed to leave a lasting impression on Chinese thought." (p. 200)


    "The consequence of this very fundamental Chinese feeling for order and harmony is the extraordinary development, both in speech and in literature, of what may be called numerical categories.

    Under the numeral three, for example, there are such categories as the Three Rituals, Three Sacrificial Animals, Three Auspicious Stars, etc.; under four, the Four Seas, Four Great Rivers, Four Cardinal Points, etc.; under five, the Five Punishments, Five Forms of Taxation, Five Supernatural Creatures, etc.; and so on up to the Ten Thousand Things,(5) which is a generic term signifying all things in the universe.(6)

    Among these numerical categories, those in five and nine are the most important." (p. 201)

    (1) See Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy (Peiping, 1937), English translation by Derk Bodde, vol. 1, ch. 11.

    (5) Wan wu.

    (6) For an extended list of 319 such categories, see W. F. Mayers, The Chinese Reader's Manual (Shanghai reprint of 1924), part 2.

  17. Boltz, William G. 2000. "Logic, Language, and Grammar in Early China." The Journal of the American Oriental Society no. 120:218-229.

    Reviewed work: Science and Civilisation in China, Volume 7, Part 1: Language and Logic in Traditional China by Christoph Harbsmeier.

    Abstract: "In examining what he calls the "logical features" and "logical concepts" of the Classical Chinese language Christoph Harbsmeier has shown in this volume of Science and Civilisation in China that "logic is logic" and that, like mathematics, physics, and chemistry, for example, logic in China is no different from logic in the West in its primary, fundamental nature. Whatever differences there may appear to be are secondary matters of how logical propositions are expressed in the language and of the accidental fact of the particular concerns of extant texts. An analysis of the logical features of Classical Chinese becomes a useful and revealing part of a comparative study of grammar in Classical Chinese and in the principal Western classical languages, Greek and Latin, and in English. Grammars may differ; the meanings of words and of syntactic constructions may differ, and as a consequence logical propositions may appear to be formulated in different ways in Chinese and English (or other Western languages), but the underlying premises and conclusions of logical reasoning are language independent, and the logical features of the Classical Chinese language reflect linguistic universals."

  18. Bosley, Richard. 2005. "The Emergence of Concepts of a Sentence in Ancient Greek and in Ancient Chinese Philosophy." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 24:209-229.

    "The emergence of an explicit concept of a sentence in a developing philosophical tradition is of considerable significance. The concept is necessary for developments in logic and metaphysics. For without the

    concept it is impossible to pursue an inquiry into logical inference and various fallacies and sophistries. The point of this paper is to discuss the two developments as they emerge in the writings of Plato and Aristotle, in the West, and in the East, in the fragments of the Later Mohists. There are interesting differences which may reflect different concerns and assumptions of the two philosophical traditions. It will also be suggested just how differences between Classical Chinese and Classical Greek influence philosophical concerns.

    A.C. Graham(2) has helped us understand the emergence of a notion of a sentence in ancient Chinese philosophy. Before considering Graham's statement of the difficulty which ancient Chinese thinkers must have had in coming to articulate a notion of the sentence, let us briefly consider the situations which ancient thinkers were in as they began to enrich philosophical consciousness." (p. 209)

    (2) The source of my quotations from and my summaries of Graham's work is Later Mohist Logic Ethics and Science.

  19. Brons, Lajos L. 2016. "Recognizing "Truth" in Chinese Philosophy." Logos and Episteme no. 7:273-286.

    Abstract: "The debate about truth in Chinese philosophy raises the methodological question How to recognize ‘truth’ in some non-Western tradition of thought? In case of Chinese philosophy it is commonly assumed that the dispute concerns a single question, but a distinction needs to be made between the property of truth, the concept of TRUTH, and the word ·truth·. The property of truth is what makes something true; the concept of TRUTH is our understanding of truth; and ·truth· is the word we use to express that understanding. Almost all human beings over the age of 2 have the concept of TRUTH, and therefore, the question whether some tradition has the concept of TRUTH is moot, but that doesn’t imply that every language has a (single) word for ·truth·. Furthermore, recognizing ·truth· is complicated by the conceptual neighbors of TRUTH. What distinguishes ·truth· from its neighbors is disquotationality. Theories of truth similarly need to be distinguished from theories about adjacent notions. If a theory is more plausibly interpreted as a theory of justification, then it is not a theory of truth."

  20. Butzenberger, Klaus. 1993. "Some General Remarks on Negation and Paradox in Chinese Logic." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 20:313-347.

    "In different periods of Chinese philosophy, statements may be encountered that have traditionally been considered paradoxical, their impact on research into Chinese logic having been quite stimulating" (p 313, a note omitted)


    "Let us conclude our remarks with focusing on the Chinese logicians’ and philosophers’ reactions towards paradoxical propositions. As we have seen, in older Chinese logic and linguistics, a certain system of metatheoretical assumptions concerning linguistic analysis was presupposed. Incidentally, this system was proven inconsistent by the dialecticians who were able to deduce an NFI [Normal Form of an Invariance proposition] together with its negation. Thus, the system became unreliable and necessitated further clarification of principles stated but implicitly. Hsün Tzu seems to have been the first to accurately describe such an evolution towards explicit formulation and clarification.

    In their heptapartite distinction of arguments referred to above, the Mohists were the first to create a new system of linguistic analysis accounting for the problems forwarded by the dialecticians. So, paradoxical propositions reinforce the development and improval of systems.

    This attitude towards paradoxes might be called a negative one: If, in a system, a paradoxical proposition emerges, the system has to be altered to such an extent that the paradoxical proposition cannot be deduced any more. This alteration is considered an improval of the system.

    This is, however, not the only attitude concerning paradoxical propositions.

    As it is well known, some ramifications of Taoism, and, quite similarly, Buddhism, subscribe to the point of view that no possible system at all is adequate for describing reality. Systems, on the other hand, are but based on artificially engendered distinctions and divisions of reality which do not correspond to anything real. Hence, there can be no final system that is adequate in any case, and any confidence in having found such a system is but a tremendous error. According to this point of view, logic must be able to metatheoretically cope with the necessary transitions from one system to another without ever being confined to one single and fixed system. As a formal device for ad infinitum reinforcing such transitions, paradoxical propositions are used. In exchange, different types of negation have to be used in order to prevent this type of logic from becoming inconsistent." (pp. 336-337)

  21. Cai, Zong-qi. 2011. "The Early Philosophical Discourse on Language and Reality and Lu Ji’s and Liu Xie’s Theories of Literary Creation." Frontiers of Literary Studies in China no. 5:477-510.

    Abstract: "This paper is an attempt to investigate how Lu Ji and Liu Xie develop their theories of literary creation on the foundation of the early philosophical discourse on language and reality. The first part of the paper examines various key terms, concepts, and paradigms developed in the philosophical discourse.

    The second part pursues a close reading of Lu’s and Liu’s texts to demonstrate how ingeniously they adapt and integrate those terms, concepts, and paradigms to accomplish two important tasks: to establish a broad framework for conceptualizing literary creation and to differentiate the complex mental and linguistic endeavors at different stages of the creative process. The paper ends with some general reflections on the impact of the two essays on the subsequent development of Chinese literary and aesthetic thoughts."

  22. Cantor, Lea. 2016. "Zhuangzi on ‘happy fish’ and the limits of human knowledge." British Journal for the History of Philosophy no. 28:216-230.

    Abstract: "The “happy fish” passage concluding the “Autumn Floods” chapter of the Classical Chinese text known as the Zhuangzi has traditionally been seen to advance a form of relativism which precludes objectivity. My aim in this paper is to question this view with close reference to the passage itself. I further argue that the central concern of the two philosophical personae in the passage – Zhuangzi and Huizi – is not with the epistemic standards of human judgements (the established view since Hansen, “The Relatively Happy Fish”), but with the more basic problem of species-specific perspectives. On my reading, Zhuangzi’s emphatic positionality in the passage – on the dam, accompanied by his friend Huizi – plausibly suggests a circumspect reflection on the limitedness of human knowledge. It is significant that Zhuangzi’s knowledge of fish happiness is avowedly from a certain place, and not absolute. But there is still a sense in which this view is objective: namely, insofar as it adequately accounts for an inherently human perspective on the world. I call this modest form of relativism ‘Species Relativism’, which, crucially, leaves room for objectivity, even though a fully objective (i.e. absolute) view of the world is not accessible to humans."

  23. Cao, Feng. 2008. "A return to intellectual history: A new approach to pre-Qin discourse on name." Frontiers of Philosophy in China no. 3:213-228.

    Abstract: "Discussions of name (ming) during the pre-Qin and Qin-Han period of Chinese history were very active. The concept ming at that time can be divided into two categories, one is the ethical-political meaning of the term and the other is the linguistic-logical understanding. The former far exceeds the latter in terms of overall influence on the development of Chinese intellectual history.

    But it is the latter that has received the most attention in the 20th century, due to the influence of Western logic. This has led to the result of a bias in the contemporary studies of ming. Changing course by returning to the correct path of intellectual history can providing an objective and thorough ordering of the pre-Qin discourse on ming."

  24. Ch'ien, Edward T. 1984. "The Conception of Language and the Use of Paradox in Buddhism and Taoism." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 11:375-399.

    "Both the Buddhists and the Taoists advocate a form of linguistic skepticism, according to which the ultimate reality is mute in the sense of being not only prescriptive but also unsayable." (p. 375)


    "To be sure, neither the Buddhists nor the Taoists did away with language entirely. To say that the ultimate reality is unsayable is already a form of saying. In fact, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Virnalakirti all said a good deal more than that. In doing so, however, they were not necessarily contradicting themselves, for, as will be shown in the following, the mode of language that they each used and affirmed not only is consistent with but actually articulates their linguistically skeptical belief that the ultimate reality is ineffable." (p. 376)

  25. Chan, Chi-ching. 1998. "The Rhetorical and the Grammatical in Early Chinese Logic." Tamkang Review no. 28:31-45.

    Abstract: "Early Chinese logic often seems puzzling because it is deeply rooted in an interplay of rhetoric and grammar. As logic in ancient China was more of persuading kings and dukes than of reasoning in epistemological terms, catching rhetoric seemed to be a short cut to instant fame. The elliptical Chinese syntax and semantic shift in word play often found in the logical texts underlie the perplexity. One of the logicians' strategies is to employ a mutual interference of, in Jakobsonian terms, the metaphorical and metonymical axes, stopping the operation of each other to create bizarre statements. Another strategy is what Paul de Man would call the rhetoricization of grammar and the grammatization of rhetoric, which leaves the reader dangling between a literal and figural reading of the logical texts. New lights should be shed on early Chinese logic if one tries to look at it not in strictly logical, but in rhetorical and grammatical, terms."

  26. Chang, Chih-wei. 1998. "The Road Not Taken: The Convergence/Divergence of Logic and Rhetoric in the Mohist "Xiaoqu"." Tamkang Review no. 28:77-94.

    Abstract: "Modern scholarship on Mozi has established an interpretative tradition of equating Mobian with logic. The present study takes issue with this tradition, criticizing its failure to locate the tension between logic and rhetoric in the Mohist art of disputation.

    Indeed, when modern scholars draw a parallel between the Mohist practice of debate and Western logic, they generally do not take into account the tension between logic and rhetoric, either in the West or in Mobian. Overlooking this tension, Hu Shi thus reads the "Xiaoqu" chapter in Mozi as a treatise on logic.

    Drawing upon the history of logic and rhetoric's development in the West, the present paper attempts to reveal Hu's bias in emphasizing the elements of logic in his explication of "Xiaoqu." To counterbalance Hu's reading of "Xiaoqu" in logical terms, this paper further highlights the rhetorical function of pi, mou, yuan, tui, four strategies of argument discussed in "Xiaoqu." Pi, mou, yuan, tui are actually four methods of analogy that take advantage of superficial resemblance to influence one's judgment of the argument's logical validity. Exploring the convergence and divergence of logic and rhetoric in the Mohist "Xiaoqu," it is hoped that we can arrive at a better understanding of Mobian."

  27. Chang, Han-liang. 1998. "Controversy over Language: Towards Pre-Qin Semiotics." Tamkang Review no. 28:1-22.

    Abstract: "Semiotic thinking in general can be born when people become aware of the discrepancy and tension among different uses of language. This awareness and its expression are often enacted dramatically in the controversy of discourse.

    The discursive polemics in Pre-Qin China centers around the contention of logic and rhetoric, quite similar to the fortune of the trivium in the medieval West.

    Traditionally known as the Great Debate on Name and Substance, the controversy should be understood as a phenomenon of language pragmatics.

    Those who participate in the Debate fail to communicate with one another because there is a discrepancy between encoding and decoding. Their polemics helps to create a textual space that includes the hidden agenda of semiotics."

  28. ———. 2003. "The Paradox of Learning and the Elenchos: Plato’s Meno, Augustine’s De Magistro, and Gongsunlong’s Jianbailun." In Comparative Literature in the Cross-cultural Context, edited by Yue, Dalyun and Qian, Linsen, 185-201. Nanjing: Yilin Press.

    "Under the assumption that the elenchos is a universal strategy of argumentation, this paper proposes to study three ancient dialogues, two in Western classical antiquity, one in Pre-Qin China. Of the three texts, Plato's Meno and Augustine's De Magistro are already separated by a temporal gap of almost eight hundred years, but they can be united by the common theme of paradox of teaching/learning and the dialogic structure in which disputation is performed. As to Gongsunlong's Dialogue on Hardness and Whiteness (hereinafter referred to as Jianbai), it can be linked mysteriously to the two Western texts from both an epistemological and a pragmatic point of view." (p. 185)

  29. ———. 2007. "Persuasion in Pre-Quin China. The Great Debate Revisited." In Traditions of Controversy, edited by Dascal, Marcelo and Chang, Han-Liang, 85-100. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    "This essay attempts to present a major controversy in classical Chinese intellectual history, commonly called the Great Debate on ming (name) and shi (substance), and to interpret that debate in the light of the contention between logic and rhetoric, similar to the one that has characterized Western philosophy since Plato’s early dialogue The Gorgias. The English rendition of the “Great Debate”, being at once accurate but imperfect, is so popular that its source is hardly traceable. The added qualification of “great” suggests the importance of the issue, but the word debate unfortunately fails to transmit the double denotation of “differentiation” and “debate”, imposed on the homophone by modern usage.(1) Thanks to contemporary scholars like Chmielewski (1962–1969), Graham (1989), Defoort (1997), Chang [Han-liangh] (1998, 2003), Lu (1998), Reding (2004), Cui (2004), we have become aware of the contention of logic and rhetoric and, to a lesser extent, the relation between logic and grammar suggested by these ancient texts." (p. 85)

    (1) The Chinese word for bian in its original form is double denotative; it means at once debate and distinction, but two different words (graphic forms or graphemic signifiers) are used for the two senses (signifieds) in modern Chinese. However, the semantic differentiation and identification denoted by the original form are important to our understanding of the complex relationship between semantics and pragmatics, i.e., clarifying nuances of meaning and engaging in debate.

    (2) Whilst Aristotle begins his The Art of Rhetoric with the statement “Rhetoric is the counterpart of dialectic” ([The Art of Rhetoric] 1991: 66), he subsumes the enthymeme or “rhetorical demonstration” under dialectic and stresses its difference from “logical syllogisms” (68, [Topics]).


    Cui, Q. 2004. Mojia luoji yu yalishiduode luoji bijiao yanjiu (Comparative Research on Mohist and Aristotelian Logic). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe.

    [For the other references see this bibliography]

  30. Chao, Yuen Ren. 1946. "The Logical Structure of Chinese Words." Language no. 22:4-13.

    Presidential address, read at the regional meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in New York, December 31, 1945.

    Reprinted in: Yuen Ren Chao, Aspects of Chinese Sociolinguistics, Essays selected and introduced by Anwar S. Dil, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976, pp. 260-274.

    "At a previous meeting of this society, I read a paper on Word Conceptions in Chinese. There I dealt chiefly with the size-of-unit problem. I recognized two word-like units in Chinese. One is the monosyllable, which is almost always a morpheme.(2) It is not always a free form, but, partly because it is written with one character, it is very much talked about. It occupies the same social position of being the common linguistic small change of everyday life and is therefore called a 'word' by most of those who speak in English on Chinese.(3) The Chinese name for this is tz'ŭ4. On the other hand, there is the free form consisting of one, two, or more syllables, which may enter into what we should call syntactical relations with other similar units. Linguistically, this would be much more like what we call a word in other languages than the monosyllable. But it has no everyday name in Chinese,(4) because it is not talked about every day.

    In the present paper, I propose to consider the other aspect of the problem, the identity-of-unit problem: What constitutes one and the same word? Since a large part of this discussion will consist of tertiary statements concerning secondary statements about language, and the monosyllabic tz'ŭ4 will play a major part in such secondary statements, we shall take the tz'ŭ4 as our unit of reference, rather than the syntactical word. Any one who does not accept this use of the word 'word' as applied to Chinese may, wherever the word 'word' occurs, simply substitute the word tz'ŭ4, or rather thetz'ŭ4 'tz'ŭ4', and will still be able to follow the discussion." (p. 4)

    (2) mes, an ancient Chinese morpheme with an initial consonant cluster became a dissyllabic morpheme through the appearance of an extra vowel between the parts of the cluster. But the separate syllables thus resulting usually acquired the status of separate morphemes, with separate meanings. Seec P. A. Boodberg, Some proleptical remarks on the evolution of Archaic Chinese, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 2.329-72, esp. 336 ff.

    3 Such as Sinologists, missionaries, and Chinese students studying abroad.

    4 The learned term for it is tz'ŭ2 not related etymologically to tz'ŭ4).

  31. ———. 1955. "Notes on Chinese Grammar and Logic." Philosophy East and West no. 5:31-41.

    Reprinted in: Yuen Ren Chao, Aspects of Chinese Sociolinguistics, Essays selected and introduced by Anwar S. Dil, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976, pp. 237-249.

    "This paper is not concerned with Chinese logic as a part of technical Chinese philosophy, but, rather, with the ways in which some elementary logical notions find expression in the Chinese language. Therefore, I shall not touch upon the numerous paradoxes found in the Canon of the Way and Virtue (Tao-tê Ching) of Lao Tzŭ, or such questions as to whether the whiteness of a white horse is the same as the whiteness of white snow, as raised by Mencius,(2) or the series of problems with which the school of Mo Tzŭ was much concerned. On the contrary, I shall consider such universal logical constants - apparently universal constants for all human thought-as "and," "or," "all," "if ... then," "not," etc., and ask what forms, especially grammatical forms, they take in Chinese thought and speech. To put it in another way: instead of negation, I shall consider "not"; instead of implication, I shall consider "if ... then"; instead of existence, I shall consider "there is." In short, instead of metalogic and Chinese grammatics, I am primarily concerned here with logical notions and grammatical forms. Terms like foouding,(3) "negation"; minqtyi, "proposition"; chyantyi, "premise"; tueiluenn, "infer (ence)"; etc., are not very well known to many Chinese - not even to those who read and write. On the other hand, all Chinese, whether literate or illiterate, will argue and reason in prose without realizing that they have been doing so all their lives." (p. 31)

  32. ———. 1959. "How Chinese Logic Operates." Anthropological Linguistics:1-8.

    Reprinted in: Yuen Ren Chao, Aspects of Chinese Sociolinguistics, Essays selected and introduced by Anwar S. Dil, Stanford: Stanford University Press 1976, pp. 250-259.

    "Like the logic of other cultures, Chinese logic operates by ways of affirmation and negation, particular and universal assertion, categorical conclusion and hypothetical implication, etc., but unlike the logic of other cultures, Chinese logic must of course operate with the degree of freedom that is possible within the operational possibilities of the Chinese language itself. Thus, while aiming at finding out how Chinese logic operates, we shall probably end up with finding out how logic operates in Chinese. The tool with which, or, what amounts to the same thing, the form in which, Chinese logic operates is the Chinese language. More specifically, the chief operative elements in Chinese are the use of words, especially functional words, word order and hierarchical structure and suprasegmental elements. Since all such elements enter also into non-logical functions of the Chinese language, such as influencing action, expressing and producihg feeling, presenting linguistic objects of beauty, it follows that there is no element of the language which is exclusively concerned with logical operations." (p. 1)

  33. Chen, Bo. 2006. "The debate on the yan-yi relation in Chinese philosophy: reconstruction and comments." Frontiers of Philosophy in China no. 1:539-560.

    Abstract: "The debate on the yan-yi relation was carried out by Chinese philosophers collectively, and the principles and methods in the debate still belong to a living tradition of Chinese philosophy. From Yijing (Book of Changes), Lunyu (Analects), Laozi and Zhuangzi to Wang Bi, "yi" which cannot be expressed fully by yan (language), is not only "idea" or "meaning" in the human mind, but is also some kind of ontological existence, which is beyond yan and emblematic symbols, and unspeakable. Thus, the debate on the yan-yi relation refers firstly to metaphysics, secondly to moral philosophy, and then to epistemology and philosophy of language. Guided by this view, this paper recalls the source of the debate on the yan-yi relation to Yijing and Lunyu, distinguishes four meanings of "yi" in Chinese philosophy, and reconstructs three arguments. These arguments are the "yan cannot express yi fully" argument, "forget yan once you get yi" argument, and ''yan can express yi fully" argument. Finally, this paper exposes and comments on those principles, methods and the general tendency shown in the debate from the following five aspects: starting point, value-preference, methodology, texts (papers and books), and influences."

  34. ———. 2009. "Xunzi’s Politicized and Moralized Philosophy of Language." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 36:107-139.

    "In “Rectifying Names” (Zhengming) and other articles, Xunzi (313–238 BCE)1 developed a systematic theory ofnames, in which we can find some illuminating insights. These insights are still alive in contemporary philosophy of language, and can be used to broaden and deepen our thinking about names as well as about language generally. In this article, I will present Xunzi’s theory of names, and compare it to some ancient and contemporary theories, Chinese and Western, and then explore some characteristics of Xunzi’s theory, its strengths and its internal limitations." (p. 107)

  35. ———. 2014. "Six Groups of Paradoxes in Ancient China: From the Perspective of Comparative Philosophy." Asian Philosophy no. 24:363-392.

    Abstract: "This paper divides the sophisms and paradoxes put forth by Chinese thinkers of the pre-Qin period of China (before 221 BCE) into six groups: paradoxes of motion and infinity, paradoxes of class membership, semantic paradoxes, epistemic paradoxes, paradoxes of relativization, other logical contradictions. It focuses on the comparison between the Chinese items and the counterparts of ancient Greek and even of contemporary Western philosophy, and concludes that there turn out to be many similar elements of philosophy and logic at the beginnings of Chinese and Greek civilizations."

  36. Cheng, Chung-ying. 1965. "Inquiries into Classical Chinese Logic." Philosophy East and West no. 15:195-216.

    "For the purpose of elucidating the nature of Chinese logic, we may suggest that the goal of study and research in classical Chinese logic should be en visaged as a critical analysis of the explicit logico-methodological issues in Chinese classical discourses, on the one hand, and a synthetic reconstruction of implicit logico-scientific theories, on the other. We may, indeed, conduct our examination in the light of an adequate understanding of modern logic, history, and the philosophy of logic and science. First, let us pose the following important questions: whether or not Chinese philosophers used logic, or reason and arguments, in their discussions of problems; whether the logic (or reason and arguments) thus used differed essentially from that of the West; and, finally, if there is something which can be called Chinese logic, what constitutes its particular features? The first step to adequate replies to these questions consists in testifying to the existence of logical and scientific ideas in classical Chinese writings. The importance of this testimony can scarcely be overstated, because this is where we can collect our evidence and evolve our explanations." (p. 200)

  37. ———. 1968. "Logic and Language in Chinese Thought." In La Philosophie contemporaine. Métaphysique, phénoménologie, langage et structure. Vol. III, edited by Klibansky, Raymond, 335-347. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.

  38. ———. 1971. "Aspects of Classical Chinese Logic." International Philosophical Quarterly no. 11:213-235.

    "In the rest of this article I will discuss some of the recent developments under the following topics: (1) the nature and structure of the Chinese language and its significance for Chinese logic and thought, (2) patterns of Chinese reasoning in early philosophical writings; and (3) the nature and problems of explicit formalization of Chinese logic." (p. 215)


    "Conclusion. In the above, we have discussed, first, the relation of the Chinese grammatical structure to logic and thought in Chinese philosophy, second, the logical modes of reasoning as contained in classical Chinese philosophical writings, and finally, the explicit Chinese logical consciousness and inquiries into forms of reasoning and problems of language in relation to reality and truth. We have seen many aspects

    of the relationship of Chinese language to Chinese logic and Chinese thought. Among these, a most important one is that both Chinese logic and Chinese thought have their universal characteristics which

    are not contingent on Chinese language, whereas Chinese language, in so far as its grammar is concerned, seems to exhibit the basic points of Chinese philosophy, and indeed can be taken as a concrete illustration

    of important Chinese philosophical principles such as that the whole is relevant for, and contributes to, the determination of the part in the whole." (p. 234)

  39. ———. 1973. "On the Problem of Subject Structure in Language, with Applications to Late Archaic Chinese." In Approaches to Natural Language: Proceedings of the 1970 Stanford Workshop on Grammar and Semantics, edited by Hintikika, Jaakko, Moravcsik, J. M. E. and Suppes, Patrick, 413-434. Dordrecht: Reidel.

    "In the analysis of the subject-predicate structure of classical Chinese there is want for adequate and well-defined criteria for determining the various types of subject-predicate structures. This is due to the absence of a general theory to explain the purposes of the analysis.

    In this paper I shall start with general consideration of the distinction between subject and predicate and proceed to a relevant application of such distinction to any language. Once we have made this clear, it is only a corollary to show that subject-predicate structures in Late Archaic Chinese(2) may be systematically illustrated and logically explained.

    Specifically, I shall confine myself to the analysis of the subject structure in language while leaving the treatment ofthe predicate structure to a separate article." (p. 413)

    (2) The use of the term is due to W. A. C. H. Dobson (1959). [Late Archaic Chinese, Toronto].

  40. ———. 1975. "On Implication (tse a) and Inference (ku b) in Chinese Grammar and Chinese Logic." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 2:225-244.

    Abstract: "This article is intended to explain my discovery of two grammatically independent and yet logically interrelated categories, namely implication and inference, in Chinese language and Chinese logic, as conveyed by the terms tse and ku and the concepts they connote. I intentionally refer to tse and ku either as two forms of logical relationship, or as two concepts, or as two terms or two words for these two forms of logical relationship. The uses of tse and ku as two words can be said to constitute the forms of logical relationship for which they stand. Since the contexts of this article will make clear what I actually refer to, this ambiguity of usage is harmless and will not prevent an understanding of my arguments."

  41. ———. 1983. "Kung-sun Lung: White Horse and Other Issues." Philosophy East and West no. 33:341-354.

    "This is an up-to-date analysis of Kung-sun Lung's thesis "White horse is not horse" and the underlying class logic. Critique is made of the wrong-headedness of the mass-term interpretation (Hansen) and a shallow understanding of classical Chinese grammar in light of modern logic. Neo-mohist canons on identity, difference, separableness and inseparableness are also analyzed for comparison and contrast."

  42. ———. 1987. "Logic and Language in Chinese Philosophy." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 14:285-307.

    "Chinese ontology is formulated in the Chinese language and categorized according to Chinese philosophical interests and orientations. How these interests and orientations differentiate and integrate or relate Chinese ontological theses and views is not only an important historical question but is also a question of logical consequence."(p. 286)


    "Thus an inquiry into language and ontology in Chinese philosophy should naturally reveal distinctions peculiarly to Chinese language, Chinese ontology, and Chinese philosophy, but also promises insights into the nature, function, form and substance of some, if not all, logico-linguistic issues.

    First, the basic and dominant conception of language as a matter of naming (of formulating and applying names) in Chinese philosophy will be analyzed to clarify how the various schools of philosophy in the

    classical period of China developed from their distinctive evaluations of presenting or realizing ontological truths. Then follows an explanation of the types of ontological theses and positions found in Chinese philosophy.

    A clearer understanding will be sought through a series of comparisons and contrasts with contemporary Western positions. Finally, the response of Chinese philosophers to logico-linguistic and ontological issues will be discussed." (p. 287)

  43. ———. 1997. "Philosophical Significance of Gongsun Long: A New Interpretation of Theory of "Zhi" as Meaning and Reference." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 24:139-177.

    "Although Gongsun Long (GSL) and the Mingjia (School of Names) have been frequently studied in the last two decades in both China and the Western world for the purpose of clarifying and explaining the nature of Chinese language and Chinese logic, there is not a single study which has explained the rise of the school of Names and the motivating impetus behind the advancement of reasons and arguments in the school. The method of such studies is very often a matter of analyzing Gongsun Long's arguments by using modern logic of classes to show why Gongsun Long can be accepted according to modern standards or to show how it has deviated from modern logic and therefore has to be understood on a different line of logic. There is nothing improper in these approaches but these approaches fail to answer two important questions regarding the writings of Gongsun Long and the School of Names, namely which goals did Gongsun Long and the School of Names want to pursue and how did he and the School of Names come to confront their problems and establish their theses and argue for their validity.

    Second, we need to have a full view of Gongsun Long in light of his existing writings and we can not simply draw conclusions on one or two chapters from the five essays attributed to him." (p. 139 a note omitted)

  44. ———. 2000. "Classical Chinese Philosophies of Language: Logic and Ontology." In History of the Language Sciences: An International Handbook on the Evolution of the Study of Language from the Beginnings to the Present. Vol. I, edited by Auroux, Sylvain, Koerner, E.F.K., Niederehe, Hans-Josef and Versteegh, Kees, 19-35. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Summary: 1. Two aspects of language in early Chinese philosophy; 2. Nature and function of non-substantive words in the Chinese language; 3. Five positions (theories) of names and sayings in Classical Chinese philosophy; 4. The Cunfucian doctrine of zheng-ming “rectifying names”; 5. The Daoist doctrine of wu-ming “no names”; 6. Nominalistic tendencies in Yinwenzi; 7. Platonistic tendencies in Gongsun Long; 8. Empirical (scientific) realism of names and language in the Neo-Moist Canons (Jing/Shuo); 9. Concluding remarks; 10. Bibliography.

    "9. Concluding remarks

    In the above I have discussed the ontological import of chinese language and the conception of language in various ontological perspectives developed in Classical Chinese Philosophy.

    I distinguished names (ming) from sayings (yan) which are two basic aspects of chinese language. I also distinguished between ontology in and of language and ontology independent of or without language. I

    have shown that for the Confucianists the ontological considerations of names are subject to practical, normative considerations of yan. For the Daoists, both names and sayings are abolished for ontological and normative, practical reasons, and an ontology without language is tacitly suggested and presented.

    For Yinwenzi and Gongsun Long, the ontological import of names dominates the practical, normative ends of yan. Finally, for the Neo-Moists ontological considerations are to be regulated by logical and methodological considerations, and language is to be developed and refined by logic and scientific discovery into a tool for expressing objective truth and objective knowledge." (p. 35)

  45. ———. 2003. "Language and Logic." In Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy, edited by Cua, Antonio S., 343-355. New York: Routledge.


    We have discussed the concept and ontological import of language in various perspectives developed in classical Chinese philosophy. Also, we have distinguished names (ming) from “saying” (yan)—two aspects of Chinese language—and distinguished ontology in and of language from ontology independent of or without language. For the Confucians, the ontological consideration of names is subject to the practical, normative consideration of yan. For the Daoists, both ming and yan are to be abolished; their reasons are ontological, normative, and practical, and they offer an ontology without language. For Yinwenzi and Gongsun Long, the ontological import of names dominates the practical, normative ends of yan. Finally, for the neo-Mohists ontological considerations are to be regulated by logical and methodological considerations, and language is to be developed and refined, through logic and scientific discovery, into a tool for expressing objective truth and objective knowledge." (p. 354)

  46. ———. 2006. "From Donald Davidson’s Use of ‘Convention T’ to Meaning and Truth in Chinese Language." In Davidson’s Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy: Constructive Engagement, edited by Mou, Bo, 271-308. Leiden: Brill.

    "In this article I shall advance in the first part the Donald Davidson’s theory of truth interpretation in terms of the Convention T as originally established by Tarski in his formalization of semantics for finite languages. Davidson has expanded the Tarski’s formal-semantic notion of truth interpretation and applies to natural languages in order to show how the meaning of a sentence could be given in terms of truth conditions of the sentence. This is an ingenious move.

    But we wish to ask whether the Davidsonian approach to interpretation of truth in terms of the Tarskian Convention T is sufficient to explain meaning and truth in a living natural language like the Chinese and whether it is itself should be further broadened for both semantic and hermeneutical representation of our understanding reality based on experience. In other words, we shall ask whether an ontological re-interpretation and application of Convention T could serve an important purpose of ontological and cross-ontological understanding that I call onto-hermeneutical understanding.

    In the second part of the article I shall advance five basic principles for understanding meaning and truth in Chinese language in view of Chinese philosophy as a theory of truth." (p. 271-272, notes omitted)

  47. ———. 2007. "Reinterpreting Gongsun Longzi and Critical Comments on Other Interpretations." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 34:537-560.

    "In my earlier works of 1969 and 1970,(16) I have suggested that GSL [Gongsun Longzi] is Platonic in the sense that he is an abstract realist. I have considered white as indicating whiteness and horse as indicating horsehood as they are abstract qualities which are abstracted from real experiences and given a status of independent status apart from the concrete experience of the world. I may even think that the indeterminate (budingzhe) could be an abstraction from all our known determinations.

    Now I wish to stress the importance of seeing determinations (as zhi) as both naturally arising and epistemological recognized with our conceptions which fit with our experiences in totality and as a totality. In this sense I wish now to take the concrete realist position which means: There are natural qualities in things which require our experiences and cognition. As to how they are to be characterized and related to each other, we need to use our best brains to find out and construe our language in a manner which preserves coherence of experiences and yet reveals our insights into reality and language use in regard to this reality in different modes of reference (experience) and meaning (theories)." (p. 548)

    (16) See my article “Logic and Language in Chinese Thought,” Contemporary Philosophy: A Survey 3 (1969): 335–47. See also my article “Logic and Ontology of Kungsun Lung in the Chi-Wu-Lun,” Philosophy East and West 20, no. 2 (1970): 137–54. In the latter I have translated the whole essay of GSL’s Zhiwu Lun into English and then formalize it in the first-order predicate logic with identity for the purpose of showing the

    validity of the argument. I have succeeded to show the validity of GSL’s argument.

    Many later researchers are lack of research and information for these contributions I have made and proceeded. This in a way shows their study of GSL has not made new discovery which enables them move to the positions which are easily untenable or simply evidence-lacking.

  48. ———. 2012. "Preface: Chinese Logic as Threefold: Reference, Meaning and Use." Journal of Chinese Philosophy no. 39:325-326.

    "I believe therefore there are three layers of Chinese logic, the formal or semiformal logic of truth functions, the semantic logic of fixed usages, and the pragmatic logic of nonfixed usages based on contextual and intentional interpretations. One must see that whereas the Neo-Moist Canons (including some corrupted parts such as the Daqu) make efforts to construct a formal logic of truth functions based on formal understanding of reference and inference, the Neo-Moist Xiaoqu has shown its efforts to establish a semantic logic by revealing different forms of inference and hidden restraining factors for uses of our common concepts or predicates in references, which make a difference to inferences. On the other hand, we have to mention Xunzi as a critical-minded logical philosopher who wishes to develop and establish a semantic-referential logic that functions on fixed relations of reference and meaning based on an objective and yet conventional epistemology of objects and concepts. He would like to repudiate both the semantic logic of Neo-Moists and the pragmatic or otherwise realistic logic of Gongsun Long.

    In this present issue on Neo-Moist or later Moist logic, our organizer of the special theme, Professor Yiu-ming Fung, and our expert authors have made their new specific explorations into Chinese logic based on early scholarship and their own insights. I thank each of them for their individual achievements." (p. 326

  49. Cheng, Chung-ying, and Swain, Richard H. 1970. "Logic and Ontology in the Chih Wu Lun of Kung-Sun Lung Tzu." Philosophy East and West no. 20:137-154.

    "One of the most disputed texts of classical Chinese philosophy is the Chih Wu Lun of Kung-sun Lung. Conflicting translations and interpretations have been offered by Fung Yu-lan,(1) A. C. Graham,(2) Janusz Chmielewski,(3) Wing-tsit Chan,(4) and others. It seems to us that each of these scholars, by concentrating almost exclusively on establishing a meaning for the term chihe, has overlooked the fundamental importance of both the structure of Kung-sun Lung's argument and the meaning of the term wud. Taking into account all three of these factors, we hope to show that Kung-sun Lung has presented a tight, logical argument elucidating the nature and function of reference." (p. 137)

    (1) Fung Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, trans. Derk Bodde, 2 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952), I, 205-206, 209-212.

    (2) A. C. Graham, "Kung-sun Lung's Essay on Meanings and Things," Journal of Oriental Studies 2, no. 2 (Jul. 1955), 282-301.

    (3) Janusz Chmielewski", Notes on Early Chinese Logic (I)," Rocznik Orientalistyczny 26, no. 1 (1963), 7-22.

    (4) Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), pp. 237-238.

  50. Cheng, Zhongtang. 2007. "Logic paradigm in the “Mobian” investigation: From a hermeneutic point of view." Frontiers of Philosophy in China no. 2:188-205.

    Abstract: "This article describes the logic paradigm in the “Mobian” 墨辩 (the debate theory of the Mohist school) investigation from the point of view of hermeneutics, discloses the relationship between the overinterpretation tradition in China and the logic paradigm in the “Mobian” investigation, observes the overinterpretation of the “Mobian” by the creators and supporters of the logic paradigm from Liang Qichao and Hu Shi to the modernists, including mathematical logicians, and analyzes Shen Youding’s reflections on the logic paradigm in his later life."