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Analogical Propositions in Moist Texts


  • This article was originally presented at the panel, “Transcendence in Chinese Thought” at the meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association on December 27–31, 2008. I am indebted to several participants for their feedback (including but not limited to): Andrew Colvin, Kurtis Hagen, and Henry Rosemont. I would also like to express my gratitude to 2004 and 2012 Creighton Faculty Summer Research Fellowships, which financially supported my research proposals, “Western Logic Meets Chinese Logic” and “The Journey towards a Mutual Understanding.” Editor-in-Chief Professor Chung-ying Cheng, a blind reviewer, and Managing Editor Linyu Gu provided substantial and challenging comments and suggestions, and the present publication has significantly benefited from them. Time constraint and page-budget had allowed me to respond and incorporate their major questions at my best effort but they shall be taken into a fuller deliberation in my next project.

JINMEI YUAN, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Creighton University. Specialties: comparative logic, Pre-Qin Chinese philosophy, Chinese literature. E-mail:


This article is an effort to improve understanding between Moist and Aristotelian logics on analogy. I argue that Chinese logic can neither fit in Aristotelian deductive framework, nor completely fit in Aristotelian inductive framework. One of the major reasoning skills that ancient Chinese logicians applied is analogical reasoning. Having examined thirteen Moist analogical propositions in a Moist text, the Da Qu 〈大取〉from the perspective of finding rationales (li 理) among things, I conclude that if the rationales can be found in a changing world, then Chinese logicians seek for the “beauty of creative thinking” in the process of argumentation.