Review of Mencius on the Mind 1933
Mr I. A. Richards suggests that literary meanings combine into at least four components, Intention or purpose, Feeling, Tone, and Sense. He asks us to be more sceptical than formerly of the fourth, in practical criticism. Mr Richards shows by examples from this translation the difficulties in any attempt to get behind the words to the real meaning intended by Mencius. Mr Richards gives the conservative and the mighty a severe shaking in his new book, Mencius on the Mind. Owing to the disabilities of human thinking, abstract conceptions need concrete examples, and we have to follow some such course as Socrates in his quest for the exact meaning of justice. The thesis just stated is illustrated by his translation of passages of psychology from Mencius. An expert in Chinese might have something to say on the translation and analysis of Mencius, and could compare with profit its difficulties with those of other ancient writings.