Pluralism about truth in early chinese philosophy: A reflection on Wang chong’s approach

Comparative Philosophy 2 (1):38 (2011)
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The debate concerning truth in Classical Chinese philosophy has for the most part avoided the possibility that pluralist theories of truth were part of the classical philosophical framework.   I argue that the Eastern Han philosopher Wang Chong (c. 25-100 CE) can be profitably read as endorsing a kind of pluralism about truth grounded in the concept of shi 實 , or “actuality”.    In my exploration of this view, I explain how it offers a different account of the truth of moral and non-moral statements, while still retaining the univocality of the concept of truth (that is, that the concept amounts to more than the expression of a disjunction of various truth properties), by connecting shi with normative and descriptive facts about how humans appraise statements.   In addition to providing insight into pluralist views of truth in early China, the unique pluralist view implicit in Wang’s work can help solve problems with contemporary pluralist theories of truth.  



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Alexus McLeod
Indiana University, Bloomington

References found in this work

Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Truth as one and many.Michael P. Lynch - 2009 - New York : Clarendon Press,: Clarendon Press.
Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (4):883-890.

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