Frontiers of Philosophy in China

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 414–431

Proposition, definition and inference in ancient Chinese philosophy

Research Article


This article attempts to explore ancient Chinese philosophical thought by analyzing how pioneering Chinese thinkers made judgments and inferences, and compares it to ancient Greek philosophy. It first addresses the starting-point and the object of cognition in Chinese ancient philosophy, then analyses how early thinkers construed definition and proposition, and finally discusses how they made inferences on the basis of definition and proposition. It points out that categorization is an important methodology in ancient Chinese philosophy, and that rectification of names and the doctrine of the mean are key criteria in making judgments.


ancient Greek philosophy proposition definition inference Lao Zi Confucius Mo Zi Yijing 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aristotle (1926). The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. by H. Rackham. Massachusetts: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  2. Aristotle (1938). “On Interpretation,” trans. by H. P. Cooke. In: Aristotle, Vol. I. Massachusetts: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristotle (1960). “Posterior Analytics,” trans. by H. Tredennick. In: Aristotle, Vol. II. Massachusetts: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  4. Gongsun Long (2008). Gongsun Long Zi 公孙龙子 (The Book of Master Gongsun Long). Changchun: Shidai Wenyi ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  5. Hu Shi (1999). Xianqin Mingxue Shi 先秦名学史 (Development of the Logical Method in Ancient China). Hefei: Anhui Jiaoyu ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  6. Jin Yuelin (2005). Xingshi Luoji 形式逻辑 (Formal Logic). Beijing: Renmin ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  7. Mao Zedong (1999). Mao Zedong Wenji 毛泽东文集 (Collected Works of Mao Zedong). Bejing: Renmin ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  8. Plato (1935). The Republic, trans. by P. Shorey. Massachusetts: Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  9. Shi Bangyao (2008). Yangming Xiansheng Jiyao 阳明先生集要 (Selected Works of Wang Yangming). Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  10. Wang Li (2004). Hanyu Shigao 汉语史稿 (Notes on the History of the Chinese Language). Beijing: Zhonghua ShujuGoogle Scholar
  11. Wang Yangming (1992). Wang Yangming Quanji 王阳明全集 (Works by Wang Yangming). Shanghai: Shanghai Guji ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  12. Yu Xuanmeng (2005). Benti Lun Yanjiu 本体论研究 (A Study on Ontology). Shanghai: Shanghai Renmin ChubansheGoogle Scholar
  13. Zhu Xi (2004). Sishu Jizhu 四书集注 (Collected Commentaries on the Four Books). Changsha: Yuelu ShusheGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mathematics and StatisticsNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunChina

Personalised recommendations