Thursday, September 11, 2008

Logic in China

In the history of logic, logic in China plays a particularly interesting role due to its length and relative isolation from the strong current of development of the study of logic in Europe and the Islamic world, though it may have some influence from Indian logic due to the spread of Buddhism.

Confucian legalism

During the imperial era of China, the two philosophies of Confucianism and created an extremely advanced and efficient form of government. A result of Confucian and Legalist principles was the creation of the bureaucracy in government, a standardized and methodical system of management.


Legalism is the totalitarian pragmatic political philosophy of Han Fei, with maxims like "when the epoch changed, the ways changed" as its essential principle, than a jurisprudence. In this context, "legalism" here can bear the meaning of "political philosophy that upholds the rule of law", and is thus distinguished from the word's Western sense. Legalism takes an extreme cynical approach to governance; only allowing , opposed to , thinking.

Mohist logic

In China, a contemporary of Confucius, Mozi, "Master Mo", is credited with founding the Mohist school,
whose canons dealt with issues relating to valid inference and the conditions of correct conclusions.

The Mohist school of Chinese philosophy contained an approach to logic and argumentation that stresses over deductive reasoning, and is based on the ''three fa'', or methods of drawing distinctions between kinds of things.

One of the schools that grew out of Mohism, the Logicians, are credited by some scholars for their early investigation of formal logic.

Daoist skepticism

The repression of the study of logic

Unfortunately, due to the harsh rule of in the subsequent Qin Dynasty, this line of investigation disappeared in China until the introduction of Indian philosophy and Indian logic by .

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