Dawid Rogacz
Adam Mickiewicz University
The philosophy of Confucius has often been accused of lacking classical definitions of its core concepts. However, as I shall argue, Confucius systematically used nonclassical definitions—to be precise, operational ones. The notion of operational definition comes from Percy Bridgman’s The Logic of Modern Physics and means that the definiendum is defined by a set of operations that results in determining the meaning of the term in question. In the case of Confucian argumentation, operational definitions are mostly nominal and, in contrast to unambiguous methods of measurement, also context-dependent. This results in there being various yet not mutually inconsistent definitions of one term, and in “paradigmatic examples” playing a crucial role. As I show, this mode of defining things had major implications for the content of Confucius’ thought. In fact, many of its forms could be traced back to other Chinese philosophers, including those of non-Confucian provenance.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-021-09813-9
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Logic of Modern Physics.Percy Williams Bridgman - 1927 - New York, NY, USA: Arno Press.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (15):258-260.

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