The rhetorical power of naming: The case of regicide

Asian Philosophy 8 (2):111 – 118 (1998)
Abstract
The traditional reading of ancient Chinese texts focuses on their content rather than their modes of expression: truth is considered a given, of which language is merely the expression. This approach misses out on a predominant way of arguing in Chinese texts, namely to evaluate the situation by (re) naming it. A discussion of four textual fragments (up to the 2nd century BC) concerning the topic of regicide illustrates different degrees of this type of argumentation. Among philosophers discussion occurs in a subtle play of specifying terms such as 'regicide' or 'reign', rather than in an explicit defence of regicide by appeal to higher principles.
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DOI 10.1080/09552369808575476
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