Horse-parts, white-parts, and naming: Semantics, ontology, and compound terms in the white horse dialogue
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6 (2):167-185 (2007)
In this article I argue against Chad Hansen’s version of the “White Horse Dialogue” (Baimalun) of Gongsun Longzi as intelligible through writings of the later Moists. Hansen regards the Baimalun as an attempt to demonstrate how the compound baima, “white horse,” is correctly analyzed in one of the Moist ways of analyzing compound term semantics but not the other. I present an alternative reading in which the Baimalun arguments point out, via reductio, the failure of either Moist analysis; in particular they point out how neither analysis accounts for ordinary, acceptable inferences like “There is a white horse; therefore there is a horse.” At issue for Gongsun Longzi is a fundamental problem with atomic terms: none of them seems capable of referring to a particular, “stand-alone” individual.
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References found in this work BETA
Chung-ying Cheng (1983). Kung-Sun Lung: White Horse and Other Issues. Philosophy East and West 33 (4):341-354.
Chung-Ying Cheng (1997). Philosophical Significance of Gongsun Long: A New Interpretation of Theory of Zhi as Meaning and Reference. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 24 (2):139-177.
Chung-ying Cheng & Richard H. Swain (1970). Logic and Ontology in the Chih Wu Lun of Kung-Sun Lung Tzu. Philosophy East and West 20 (2):137-154.
Jane Geaney (1999). A Critique of A.C. Graham's Reconstruction of the "Neo-Mohist Canons". Journal of the American Oriental Society 19 (1):1-11.
A. C. Graham (1978). Later Mohist Logic, Ethics, and Science. School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
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