Two earlier drafts of this article were respectively presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association on December 28, 2009, and at the Department of Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong Kong, on February 9, 2010. I should like to thank the following participants for their critical comments and queries: Chung-yi Cheng, Steven Geisz, JeeLoo Liu, Guoxiang Peng, Xiaofei Tu, and Zhihua Yao. In addition, I am grateful to Ming-wood Liu and Kuang-ming Wu for their helpful e-mail feedback. My thanks also go to the Editor-in-Chief, Chung-ying Cheng, and two anonymous reviewers of this journal for their very valuable comments and suggestions. Additionally, I thank Managing Editor, Dr. Linyu Gu, and other editors for their diligent work and for proofreading my early drafts.
One Name, Infinite Meanings: Jizang's Thought On Meaning and Reference
Article first published online: 5 NOV 2012
© 2012 Journal of Chinese Philosophy
Journal of Chinese Philosophy
Volume 39, Issue 3, pages 436–452, September 2012
How to Cite
Ho, C.-H. (2012), One Name, Infinite Meanings: Jizang's Thought On Meaning and Reference. Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 39: 436–452. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6253.2012.01732.x
- Issue published online: 5 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 5 NOV 2012
Jizang sets forth a hermeneutical theory of “one name, infinite meanings” that proposes four types of interpretation of word meaning to the effect that a nominal word X means X, non-X, the negation of X, and all things whatsoever. In this article, I offer an analysis of the theory, with a view to elucidating Jizang's thought on meaning and reference and considering its contemporary significance. The theory, I argue, may best be viewed as an expedient means for telling us how to use words provisionally without any definite understanding of their referents.