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Abstract

Xunzi compiled his tract on the “Rectification of Names” (zhengming 正名) in the third century in reference to a single passage on language in the Analects by Confucius. With a general interest in ethics, ritual, and moral question, this essay is concerned with language as the key to social and political order. Xunzi suggests a twofold process for rectifying names: first, to be conscious of historical practice, and second, to adhere to customary usage. No other master of his era dealt so elaborately with language change and diversity in this world region. Even today, scholars and philosophers still refer to him when discussing language and logic. The text illustrates the role of writing by the third century BCE, when China was a plurilingual Sinosphere.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
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Abstract

Zheng Xuan’s main scholarly project is a commentary of the classics. In this context, he refers to yayan as the (written) language that he wants his contemporaries to understand properly when reading. Zheng Xuan aims to understand and regulate language use and does not study language. Zheng Xuan is a paragon of critical and meticulous scholarship on China’s antique classical literature. His work marks a step towards the systematic study and use of sound glosses. His object of inquiry is the study of the written word (zi) and often he almost exclusively focusses on the technical aspects of word derivation.

Open Access
In: Plurilingualism in Traditional Eurasian Scholarship
Technology in Chinese History
Volume Editor:
Looking at knowledge transmission as a cultural feature, this book isolates and examines the individual factors that affect knowledge in the making and created uniquely Chinese cultures of knowledge. The volume is organized into four sections: Internode, Imperial Court, Agora, and Scholarly Arts. Each has a theoretical introduction, followed by two core contributions from experts in Chinese history. The section concludes with a ‘reflection’ by a historian of Western Technology who scrutinizes each sphere and identifies the points that reflect universal technological experience. The combination of broadly sketched theoretical introductions and detailed core contributions provides an unparalleled insight into pre-modern Chinese history from the Song to early Qing dynasty, revealing Chinese attitudes towards innovation and invention.
In: Cultures of Knowledge
In: Cultures of Knowledge
In: Cultures of Knowledge
In: Cultures of Knowledge
In: Cultures of Knowledge