Semantics without Truth in Later Mohist Philosophy of Language

Frank Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I examine the concept of truth in classical Chinese philosophy, beginning with a critical examination of Chad Hansen's claim that it has no such concept. By using certain passages that emphasize analogous concepts in the philosophy of language of the Later Mohist Canons, I argue that while there is no word in classical Chinese that functions as truth generally does in Western philosophy for grammatical reasons, the Later Mohists were certainly working with a notion of semantic adequacy in which a language-to-world relationship is made an object of investigation, challenging Hansen's position that classical Chinese functions within a primarily pragmatic linguistic framework in which a language-to-user relationship determines the meaning of words.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-229
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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