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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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11. School of Logicians and Legists

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Keywords: language, name, law, reward and punishment, technique of rule

11.1 School of Names

In the Era of the Fighting States, fights over dominance took place at the language level. That could be a reason why thinkers were fascinated by the language question. Thinkers-philosophers came from a lower aristocratic class. They were minor office servants charged with public administration, who gradually became the only experts on rituals and script.

In relation to language, different schools had different attitudes. Confucians considered language and speech to be an important cultural achievement of mankind. Therefore they should be used best for the development of mankind. Taoists pointed out that language could become an obstacle to perceiving a broader and ← 105 | 106 → basic reality – Tao path, naturalness, and spontaneity. Legists considered language an instrument of power. Cosmological streams of philosophical thinking represented by the Book of Changes, Chinese Yijing, was not much concerned about language. The representatives of the School of Logicians considered language itself as an interesting target. They followed up on the logical aspects of Mohism. This stream was later called the School of forms and names, Chinese xingmingjia, sometimes presented under the short title the School of names. It was not a real group or network. Their works share an interest in language. Characteristic features of the School were the following: a) reasoning, b) logical analysis – they emphasised that only one of the opposite arguments can correspond with reality, and c) identification means...

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