chapter
45 Pages

Language and Logic by Chung-ying CHENG

Chung-ying C

Classical Chinese philosophers from the sixth to the third centuries B.C.E. were as a rule concerned with problems of names (ming). To them names were not simple units of language but representations of substantive things and objects. It was not until Xunzi that names were classified into a hierarchy of categories or types and a theory of the origin and nature of names was offered. Names in general were considered identification labels that were intended to apply to and correspond with reality (shi). As conceived, this correspondence between names and reality was such that things in nature could be given names, and the names had to identify or distinguish reality. The idea was that names were the products of naming (ming), and naming was intended to give a label to a thing, a relation, or a state of affairs in nature, in society, or in a system of values.