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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2011, Vol. 6 Issue (2) : 193-216
A New Discourse on Xunzi’s Philosophy of Language
PENG Chuanhua()
Institute of Humanities, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou 310018, China
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Xunzi’s philosophy of language was mainly unfolded through the “discrimination of ming 名 (names) and shi 实 (realities)” and the “discrimination of yan 言 (words) and yi 意 (meanings).” Particularly, the “discrimination of names and realities” was centered on the propositions that “realities are realized when their names are heard” and that “names are given to point up realities,” including the view on the essence of language such as “names expect to indicate realities” and “conventions established by usage,” the view of development of language such as “coming form the former usage and being newly established,” and the view of functions of language such as “discriminating superiority and inferiority and differentiating identities and differences”; while the “discrimination of words and meanings” mainly contained two aspects: One was that words could completely represent meanings while it could not do so on the other hand, and the other was that the Dao should be grasped through “an unoccupied, concentrated and quiet mind.” Xunzi’s philosophy of language stressed both language’s value attribute and its cognitive attribute, and it is the greatest achievement of pre-Qin dynasty’s philosophy of language.

Keywords Xunzi      philosophy of language      “discrimination of ming (names) and shi (realities)      ” “discrimination of yan (words) and yi (meanings)      ” semantics     
Corresponding Author(s): PENG Chuanhua,   
Issue Date: 05 June 2011
 Cite this article:   
PENG Chuanhua. A New Discourse on Xunzi’s Philosophy of Language[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2011, 6(2): 193-216.
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