Naming, Reference and Truth
Contribution to a Book
Dao Companion to Chinese Philosophy of Logic
This writing focuses on those most reflectively interesting and arguably representative ideas on the issue of reference, as a semantic issue, in classical Chinese philosophy which are relevant to reasoning and semantic interpretation. My strategy is this. First, I explain several basic points as revealed in Gongsun Long’s account. Second, I analyze how, essentially in line with Gongsun Long’s relevant point, the Later Mohists significantly show their semantic sensitivity to the due identities of the referents in reasoning. Third, I look at how, essentially in line with Gongsun Long’s general point on the due-place actuality, Confucius’ account of name rectification together with Xun Zi’s and Wang Chong’s further developments addresses the issue of reference in moral reality. Fourth, I explain how Lao Zi makes interesting and engaging points concerning the relationship between language engagement and the ultimate concern and between the “speakable” and the “unspeakable”. Fifth, I briefly examine a relatively recent debate on the relation of the structure of Chinese nouns to Chinese thought from the referential point of view: I focus on how the mass-noun-semantics part of Hansen’s mass-noun hypothesis are challenged by some competing accounts in view of the referential relation between Chinese nouns and referents. Sixth, I end the examination with a brief discussion of how reference and truth, as two basic semantic notions, are intrinsically related.
Bo Mou. "Naming, Reference and Truth" Dao Companion to Chinese Philosophy of Logic (2020): 33-70. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29033-7_3