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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2020, Vol. 15 Issue (2) : 167-197
The Logical Style of Confucius’ Analects
Thierry Lucas()
Institute of Superior Philosophy, Catholic University of Leuven, B–1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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Considered from a logical point of view, Confucius’ Analects contain many implicit forms of reasoning and argumentation. This is shown first by analyzing the phenomenon of parallelism: direct parallelism is often a way of hinting at a general assertion, whereas anti-parallelism hides dilemmas, generalizations and modal notions of “moral preference.” The Analects also have various types of conditionals, ranging from material implications, to modalized implications, and counterfactual conditionals, which are the germs of implicit reasoning, concluding with a moral recommendation. Analogies are particularly abundant and a presentation of three examples suggests that, beyond their explicative role, they also involve moral recommendations. The implicit logic of The Analects requires an active, albeit unconscious participation of the reader, which could be an important element in explaining the enduring influence of the text.

Keywords logical analysis      argumentation      Confucius’ Analects      parallelism      conditionals      analogies     
Issue Date: 09 July 2020
 Cite this article:   
Thierry Lucas. The Logical Style of Confucius’ Analects [J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(2): 167-197.
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