A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical by Chad Hansen

By Chad Hansen

This bold booklet provides a brand new interpretation of chinese language notion guided either via a philosopher's feel of puzzle and via a valid philosophical thought of which means. That twin aim, Hansen argues, calls for a unified translation concept. It needs to offer a unmarried coherent account of the problems that encouraged either the lately untangled chinese language linguistic research and the ordinary moral-political disputes. Hansen's unified method uncovers a philosophical sophistication in Daoism that conventional debts have neglected.

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Extra resources for A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation

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Similarly, I shall not be arguing that our languages are as different as are our theories of languages. The Chinese theory can be applied to English just as the Western theory can be applied to Chinese. I shall argue that we can raise serious doubts about aspects of the common-sense Western theory when we consider classical Chinese. But I focus on the conclusion that the Western theory would not be either natural or obvious given certain other prima facie plausible beliefs about Chinese language.

The Indo-European fascination with the sentence reflects two interesting differences in our theory of language. One is inflectional grammar that operates mainly within sentence boundaries. Sentential role-marking (part-of-speech inflections) directs our attention to the sentence as the linguistic unit in which each part of speech plays a role. The syntactical rules requiring both a subject and a predicate also draw our attention to the notion of a complete, freestanding unit. The other difference is the theoretical focus oji semantic content—truth.

This familiar assimilation forces us, next, to attribute skepticism of the senses to Daoists. Medieval Western biases conspired perfectly with the Buddhist distortion to hide Daoism from us. 28 A DAOIST THEORY OF CHINESE THOUGHT universally appropriate from a cosmic point of view! We must ban all this philosophical controversy! Love the old doctrines and accept conventional standards or face anarchy! It is probably just a coincidence that Daoists seem to value iconoclasm and presenting unconventional views.

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