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Refining discourse: language, authority and community in ancient China and Greece

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Title:Refining discourse: language, authority and community in ancient China and Greece
Authors:Dye, John Lindsay
Contributors:Ames, Roger T (advisor)
Philosophy (department)
Date Issued:2002
Publisher:University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract:Chapter 13.3 of the Confucian Analects (Lunyu) proposes an intriguing solution to the problem of government: zhengming, conventionally translated "rectification of names." Confucius suggests that we should be particularly mindful of the vocabulary we use in conversing with one another, as it plays an important role in shaping our communities and values. Language is not simply a transparent medium for the conveyance of information. Rather, it furnishes a complex and subtle form of discourse that affirms and reinforces certain values while neglecting others. By examining 13.3 and related passages in the Analects, we develop a greater understanding as to how zhengming works within the context-sensitive, process-oriented and pragmatic Confucian worldview. In light of zhengming, the Platonic emphasis on dialectic-a form of community inquiry that is rooted in a specific context-takes on added significance. Whereas Plato is often considered to be a champion of universal philosophical truth, the process of dialectical inquiry has much in common with the more localized zhengming. Important differences are also elucidated. Dialectic and zhengming are then contrasted with rhetoric broadly construed. In light of the Gorgias, Plato is generally believed to have been an outspoken critic of rhetoric. His Phaedrus, however, suggests a possible way to reconcile rhetoric with philosophy. Xunzi and Aristotle, the intellectual descendants of Confucius and Plato respectively, offer additional insights about the nature of rhetoric and how it might be integrated into philosophical practice. Different forms of persuasive authority are compared for their respective merits and shortcomings. These philosophical views are then analyzed for their compatibility with pluralism. Finally, zhengming is used to challenge the expansion of economic language into a number of modern discourses, particularly academia.
Description:Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 291-296).
Electronic reproduction.
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Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Philosophy

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