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A Logical Perspective on the Parallelism in Later Moism


  • This article was based on the second part of my long article, titled “Paradoxes and Parallelism in Ancient Chinese Philosophy,” presented at the Oxford Conference: Topic in Comparative Ancient Philosophy: Greek and Chinese, Institute for Chinese Studies, Oxford University, June 22–24, 2006. I am indebted to several participants for their feedback, including Nicholas Bunnin and Chung-ying Cheng. I also want to express my gratitude to the managing editor, Linyu Gu, for her philosophical comments and editorial suggestions.

YIU-MING FUNG, Chair Professor, Division of Humanities, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Specialties: Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy. E-mail:


A. C. Graham thinks that the parallelism in the Neo-Moist Canons is about the deduction of sentences. On the contrary, Chad Hansen thinks that they are not plausibly treated as inference of deductive forms since the later Moists are at pains to show that they can “go wrong.” In this article, I shall try to provide a logical analysis and a constructive rather than defeatist interpretation of parallelism in the text. I argue that the Moists tend to express their ideas in the “material mode of speech” to build up their semantic and pragmatic sensibility in philosophical thinking.

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