Skip to main content
×
×
Home

TWO SYLLOGISMS IN THE MOZI: CHINESE LOGIC AND LANGUAGE

  • BYEONG-UK YI (a1)
Abstract

This article examines two syllogistic arguments contrasted in an ancient Chinese book, the Mozi, which expounds doctrines of the Mohist school of philosophers. While the arguments seem to have the same form, one of them (the one-horse argument) is valid but the other (the two-horse argument) is not. To explain this difference, the article uses English plural constructions to formulate the arguments. Then it shows that the one-horse argument is valid because it has a valid argument form, the plural cousin of a standard form of valid categorical syllogisms (Plural Barbara), and argues that the two-horse argument involves equivocal uses of a key predicate (the Chinese counterpart of ‘have four feet’) that has the distributive/nondistributive ambiguity. In doing so, the article discusses linguistic differences between Chinese and English and explains why the logic of plural constructions is applicable to Chinese arguments that involve no plural constructions.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO TORONTO, ON M5R 2M8, CANADA and DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY KYUNG HEE UNIVERSITY SEOUL 130-701, SOUTH KOREA E-mail: b.yi@utoronto.caURL: http://philosophy.utoronto.ca/directory/byeong-uk-yi/
References
Hide All
Church, A. (1956). Introduction to Mathematical Logic (revised and enlarged edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Dobson, W. A. C. H. (1974). A Dictionary of the Chinese Particles. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Fraser, C. (2007). Language and ontology in early Chinese thought. Philosophy East & West, 57, 420456.
Fraser, C. (2015). Mohism. In Zalta, E. N., editor. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (winter 2015 edition). Available at https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/mohism/.
Fraser, C. (2017). Mohist canons. In Zalta, E. N., editor. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (winter 2015 edition). Available at https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/mohist-canons/.
Fung, Y.-L. (1948). A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (Bodde, E., editor). New York, NY & London, UK: Free Press.
Fung, Y.-L. (1952). A History of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 1 (second edition). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Translated by Bodde, D..
Fung, Y.-M. (2007). A logical perspective on ‘discourse on white-horse’. Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 34, 515536.
Graham, A. C. (1978). Later Mohist Logic, Ethics, and Science. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.
Hansen, C. D. (1983). Language and Logic in Ancient China. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Hansen, C. D. (1992). A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Harbsmeier, C. (1998). Science and Civilization in China, Vol. 7, Pt. 1: Language and Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnston, I. (2000). Choosing the greater and choosing the lesser: A translation and analysis of the Daqu and Xiaoqu chapters of the Mozi. Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 27, 375407.
Kim, Y.-W. et al. (editors) (2011). Plurality in Classifier Languages. Seoul: Hankookmunhwasa.
Linnebo, Ø. (2017). Plural quantification. In Zalta, E. N., editor. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (summer 2017 edition). Available at https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/plural-quant/.
McKay, T. (2006). Plural Predication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mo, D. (2006). The Mozi. In Chinese Text Project. Available at http://ctext.org/mozi.
Mo, D. (2010). The Mozi: A Complete Translation. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Translated and annotated by Johnston, I..
Mo, D. (2013). The Book of Master Mo. London: Penguin Books. Translated and edited with notes by Johnston, I..
OED (2006). Plural, adj. and n. In Oxford English Dictionary (online third edition). Available at https://www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/146191.
Oliver, A. & Smiley, T. (2016). Plural Logic (second edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Plato (1982). Hippias Major. Indianapolis, IN & Cambridge, UK: Hackett. Translated by Woodruff, P..
Rayo, A. (2002). Word and objects. Noûs, 36, 436464.
Robins, D. (2010). The later Mohist logic. History and Philosophy of Logic, 31, 247285.
Tan, J. (1964). Mobian Fawei [in Chinese: Analysis of Mohist Dialectic]. Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju.
Yi, B.-U. (1998). Numbers and relations. Erkenntnis, 49, 93113.
Yi, B.-U. (1999). Is two a property? Journal of Philosophy, 96, 163190.
Yi, B.-U. (2002). Understanding the Many. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.
Yi, B.-U. (2005). The logic and meaning of plurals, part I. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 34, 459506.
Yi, B.-U. (2006). The logic and meaning of plurals, part II. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 35, 239288.
Yi, B.-U. (2009). Chinese classifiers and count nouns. Journal of Cognitive Science, 10, 209225. Reprinted in Kim et al. (2011), pp. 245–264.
Yi, B.-U. (2011a). Afterthoughts on Chinese classifiers and count nouns. In Kim et al, . (2011), pp. 265282.
Yi, B.-U. (2011b). What is a numerical classifier? Philosophical Analysis, 23, 195258. Partially reprinted in Kim et al. (2011), pp. 1–51.
Yi, B.-U. (2014). Numeral classifiers and the white horse paradox. Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 9, 498522.
Yi, B.-U. (2016). Quantifiers, determiners, and plural constructions. In Carrara, M., Moltmann, F., and Arapinis, A., editors. Unity and Plurality: Logic, Philosophy, and Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 121170.
Yi, B.-U. (2018). White horse paradox and semantics of Chinese nouns. In Mou, B., editor. Philosophy of Language, Chinese Language, Chinese Philosophy. Leiden: Brill, pp. 4968.
Yi, B.-U. (forthcoming). Numeral classifiers and plural marking: The paranumeral account. In Kim, Y.-W., Lee, C., and Yi, B.-U., editors. Numeral Classifiers and Classifer Languages. New York, NY & London, UK: Routledge.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Review of Symbolic Logic
  • ISSN: 1755-0203
  • EISSN: 1755-0211
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-symbolic-logic
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed