Theories of Truth in Chinese Philosophy deals with debates surrounding the concept of truth in early Chinese thought, from the earliest periods through to the Han dynasty. Alexus McLeod focuses first on the question of whether there is a concept of truth in early Chinese thought, giving a critical overview of the positions of contemporary scholars on this issue, outlining their arguments and considering objections and possible problems and alternatives. McLeod then goes on to consider a number of possible theories of truth in early Chinese philosophy, giving an overview of what he takes to be the main contenders for truth concepts in the early material, and surrounding concepts and positions.
In addition, the author considers how these theories of truth might be relevant in contemporary debates surrounding truth, as well as in the context of theories of truth in the history of philosophy, both in Western and Indian thought.
Acknowledgements / Introduction / 1. Truth, Philosophy, and Chinese Thought / 2. Lunyu and Mengzi / 3. Mozi / 4. Xunzi / 5. Zhuangzi, Huainanzi, and Syncretists / 6. Wang Chong and Xu Gan / Conclusion: Comparative Thought and Future Directions / Bibliography / Index
In his important contribution to debates on truth in early Chinese philosophy, Alexus McLeod takes up the important comparative issue of how to understand the concept of truth in early Chinese philosophy.... In addition to his grounding chapter on how to think about truth in Chinese philosophy, “Truth, Philosophy, and Chinese Thought,” McLeod offers a quite comprehensive account of the development of thinking about truth.
This book is accessible to mainstream philosophers, generally well argued, and plausible in most of its conclusions … [T]his book is really a must-read for any analytic philosopher of language.
A concept of truth is essential to every cultural tradition. McLeod’s systematic and comparative study of Chinese theories of truth fills a long-felt gap in contemporary studies of Chinese philosophy. I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in Chinese understandings of truth.
McLeod’s new book is a tour de force. He not only makes a compelling case for the claim that early Chinese philosophies contained a variety of theories of truth, he shows that we have much to learn from those theories; the book will be of interest to any one working on truth who is eager to explore new conceptual territory.
This book marvellously examines theoretic explorations in early Chinese philosophy of one of the most basic conceptual foundations – the concept of truth – for any reflective pursuits addressing “how things are”. It carefully engages several widespread misunderstandings of certain crucial features of classical Chinese philosophy.
Alexus McLeod is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He is the author of Understanding Asian Philosophy.