School of Names

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The Logicians or School of Names (Chinese :名家; pinyin :Míngjiā) was a school of Chinese philosophy that grew out of Mohism during the Warring States period in 479–221 BCE. It is also sometimes called the School of Forms and Names (Chinese :形名家; pinyin :Xíngmíngjiā; Wade–Giles :Hsing2-ming2-chia1). [1] Deng Xi has been named its founder.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Chinese philosophy philosophy in the Chinese cultural sphere

Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developments. Although much of Chinese philosophy begins in the Warring States period, elements of Chinese philosophy have existed for several thousand years; some can be found in the Yi Jing, an ancient compendium of divination, which dates back to at least 672 BCE. It was during the Warring States era that what Sima Tan termed the major philosophical schools of China: Confucianism, Legalism, and Daoism, arose, along with philosophies that later fell into obscurity, like Agriculturalism, Mohism, Chinese Naturalism, and the Logicians.

Contents

Overview

The philosophy of the Logicians is often considered to be akin to those of the sophists or of the dialecticians. Joseph Needham notes that their works have been lost, except for the partially preserved Gongsun Longzi , and the paradoxes of Chapter 33 of the Zhuangzi . [2] Needham considers the disappearance of the greater part of Gongsun Longzi one of the worst losses in the ancient Chinese books, as what remains is said to reach the highest point of ancient Chinese philosophical writing. [1]

A dialectician is a philosopher who views the world in terms of complementary opposites and the interactions thereof. In popular usage, the central feature of dialectic is the concept of "thesis, antithesis, synthesis" - when an idea or phenomenon (thesis) arises, it carries within itself the seed of its opposite (antithesis), and the interplay of these polarities leads to a synthesis which is somehow beyond the scope of either polarity alone. In turn, the synthesis is now itself a new thesis, and the entire process can begin again.

Joseph Needham British biochemist

Noel Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham was a British biochemist, historian and sinologist known for his scientific research and writing on the history of Chinese science and technology. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1941, and a fellow of the British Academy in 1971. In 1992, Queen Elizabeth II conferred on him the Companionship of Honour, and the Royal Society noted he was the only living person to hold these three titles.

<i>Zhuangzi</i> (book) Daoist book

The Zhuangzi is an ancient Chinese text from the late Warring States period (476–221 BC) which contains stories and anecdotes that exemplify the carefree nature of the ideal Daoist sage. Named for its traditional author, "Master Zhuang" (Zhuangzi), the Zhuangzi is—along with the Tao Te Ching—one of the two foundational texts of Daoism, and is generally considered the most important of all Daoist writings.

Birth places of notable Chinese philosophers from Hundred Schools of Thought in Zhou Dynasty. Philosophers of Logicianism are marked by circles in blue. Birth Places of Chinese Philosophers.png
Birth places of notable Chinese philosophers from Hundred Schools of Thought in Zhou Dynasty. Philosophers of Logicianism are marked by circles in blue.

One of the few surviving lines from the school, "a one-foot stick, every day take away half of it, in a myriad ages it will not be exhausted," resembles Zeno's paradoxes. However, some of their other aphorisms seem contradictory or unclear when taken out of context, for example, "Dogs are not hounds." [3]

Zeno's paradoxes are a set of philosophical problems generally thought to have been devised by Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea to support Parmenides' doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one's senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion. It is usually assumed, based on Plato's Parmenides (128a–d), that Zeno took on the project of creating these paradoxes because other philosophers had created paradoxes against Parmenides' view. Thus Plato has Zeno say the purpose of the paradoxes "is to show that their hypothesis that existences are many, if properly followed up, leads to still more absurd results than the hypothesis that they are one." Plato has Socrates claim that Zeno and Parmenides were essentially arguing exactly the same point.

They were opposed by the Later Mohists for their paradoxes. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy.

Mohism Chinese philosophy

Mohism or Moism was an ancient Chinese philosophy of logic, rational thought and science developed by the academic scholars who studied under the ancient Chinese philosopher Mozi and embodied in an eponymous book: the Mozi. It evolved at about the same time as Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism, and was one of the four main philosophic schools from around 770–221 BC. During that time, Mohism was seen as a major rival to Confucianism. Although its influence endured, Mohism all but disappeared as an independent school of thought.

Paradox statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true

A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently-self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. A paradox involves contradictory-yet-interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.

Taoism Religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin

Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. The Tao is a fundamental idea in most Chinese philosophical schools; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing rigid rituals and social order, but is similar in the sense that it is a teaching about the various disciplines for achieving "perfection" by becoming one with the unplanned rhythms of the universe called "the way" or "dao". Taoist ethics vary depending on the particular school, but in general tend to emphasize wu wei, "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: 慈 "compassion", 儉 "frugality", and 不敢為天下先 "humility".

Eastern philosophy

Eastern philosophy or Asian philosophy includes the various philosophies that originated in East and South Asia including Chinese philosophy, Japanese philosophy, and Korean philosophy which are dominant in East Asia and Vietnam, and Indian philosophy which are dominant in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet and Mongolia.

Mozi Chinese political philosopher and religious reformer of the Warring States period

Mozi, original name Mo Di (墨翟), was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period. A book named after him, the Mozi, contains material ascribed to him and his followers.

Gongsun Long was a member of the School of Names (Logicians) of ancient Chinese philosophy. He also ran a school and enjoyed the support of rulers, and advocated peaceful means of resolving disputes in contrast to the wars which were common in the Warring States period. However, little is known about the particulars of his life, and furthermore many of his writings have been lost. All of his essays — fourteen originally but only six extant — are included in the anthology the Gongsun Longzi.

Hundred Schools of Thought philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BCE, during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China

The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 B.C. during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period of ancient China.

New Confucianism 20th-21st century Confucianist revival movement

New Confucianism is an intellectual movement of Confucianism that began in the early 20th century in Republican China, and further developed in post-Mao era contemporary China. It is deeply influenced by, but not identical with, the neo-Confucianism of the Song and Ming dynasties. It is a neo-conservative movement of various Chinese traditions and has been regarded as containing religious overtones; it advocates for certain Confucianist elements of society – such social, ecological, and political harmony – to be applied in a contemporary context in synthesis with Western philosophies such as rationalism and humanism. Its philosophies have emerged as a focal point of discussion between Confucian scholars in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

When a white horse is not a horse is a famous paradox in Chinese philosophy. Around 300 BC, Gongsun Long wrote this dialectic analysis of the question "Can one legitimately assert 'white horse is not horse'?", in a work now named for him, Gongsun Longzi, in a segment called the "White Horse Dialogue".

David Shepherd Nivison sinologist and scholar from the United States of America

David Shepherd Nivison was an American Sinologist and scholar known for his publications on late imperial and ancient Chinese history, philology, and philosophy, and his 40 years as a professor at Stanford University. Nivison is known for his use of archaeoastronomy to accurately determine the date of the founding of the Zhou dynasty as 1045 BC instead of the traditional date of 1122 BC.

History of science and technology in China

Ancient Chinese scientists and engineers made significant scientific innovations, findings and technological advances across various scientific disciplines including the natural sciences, engineering, medicine, military technology, mathematics, geology and astronomy.

Xuanxue, Neo-Taoism, or Neo-Daoism was the focal school of thought in Chinese philosophy from the third to sixth century CE. Xuanxue philosophers combined elements of Confucianism and Taoism to reinterpret the Yijing,Daodejing, and Zhuangzi.

Rectification of Names. Confucius was asked what he would do if he was a governor. He said he would "rectify the names" to make words correspond to reality. The phrase has now become known as a doctrine of feudal Confucian designations and relationships, behaving accordingly to ensure social harmony. Without such accordance society would essentially crumble and "undertakings would not be completed." Mencius extended the doctrine to include questions of political legitimacy.

Deng Xi was a Chinese philosopher and rhetorician who has been called the founding father of the Chinese logical tradition, or School of Names (Xingmingjia). Once a senior official of the Zheng state, and a contemporary of Confucius, he was actually China's earliest renowned lawyer, teaching the people word play in lawsuits. The Zuo Zhuan and Annals of Lü Buwei critically credit Deng with the authorship of a penal code opposing and twisting that of the more Confucian Zichan. Arguing over forms and names, Deng is cited by Liu Xiang as the originator of the "Legalists" and Logicians Xing-Ming principle judging names and realities (ming-shih), likely making him an important contributor to both Chinese philosophy and the foundations of Chinese statecraft.

School of Naturalists Classical Chinese school of thought (one of the Nine Schools)

The School of Naturalists or the School of Yin-yang was a Warring States era philosophy that synthesized the concepts of yin-yang and the Five Elements.

Yangism was a philosophical school founded by Yang Zhu, existent during the Warring States period, that believed that human actions are and should be based on self-interest. The school has been described by sinologists as an early form of psychological and ethical egoism. The main focus of the Yangists was on the concept of xing, or human nature, a term later incorporated by Mencius into Confucianism. No documents directly authored by the Yangists have been discovered yet, and all that is known of the school comes from the comments of rival philosophers, specifically in the Chinese texts Huainanzi, Lüshi Chunqiu, Mengzi, and possibly the Liezi and Zhuangzi. The philosopher Mencius claimed that Yangism once rivaled Confucianism and Mohism, although the veracity of this claim remains controversial among sinologists. Because Yangism had largely faded into obscurity by the time that Sima Qian compiled his Shiji, the school was not included as one of the Hundred Schools of Thought.

Logic study of inference and demonstration

Logic, is the systematic study of the form of valid inference, and the most general laws of truth. A valid inference is one where there is a specific relation of logical support between the assumptions of the inference and its conclusion. In ordinary discourse, inferences may be signified by words such as therefore, hence, ergo, and so on.

Cannabis in China

Cannabis in China is illegal since 1985. However, hemp grows in China, and historically has been used for fiber, as well as for some ritual purposes within Taoism.

References

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Edward N. Zalta philosopher

Edward N. Zalta is a senior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Language and Information. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1980. Zalta has taught courses at Stanford University, Rice University, the University of Salzburg, and the University of Auckland. Zalta is also the Principal Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) combines an online encyclopedia of philosophy with peer-reviewed publication of original papers in philosophy, freely accessible to Internet users. It is maintained by Stanford University. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from many academic institutions worldwide. Authors contributing to the encyclopedia give Stanford University the permission to publish the articles, but retain the copyright to those articles.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.