On Truth and Chinese Philosophy

I am pleased to announce that my paper, “Truth and Chinese Philosophy: A Plea for Pluralism” has been accepted for publication in Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy. My first ever published paper was on this very topic back in 2014, also in Dao, and so I’m very excited to be revisiting it in Dao once again. The abstract can be found below, followed by an author’s preprint of the article. (Note: The preprint might have some minor differences from the final, published version.)


The question of whether or not early Chinese philosophers had a concept of truth has been a topic of some scholarly debate over the past few decades. The present paper offers a novel assessment of the debate, and suggests that no answer is fully satisfactory, as the plausibility of each turns in no small part on difficult and unsettled philosophical issues prior to the interpretation of any ancient Chinese philosophical texts—particularly the issues of what it means to “have a concept” and how we understand the concept of truth itself. This paper summarizes prominent views within the debate over truth and Chinese philosophy and offers conditional assessments of each answer with respect to contemporary theories of concepts and theories of truth. The paper concludes with an appeal to methodological and interpretive pluralism, within reasonable constraints, in discussions of this topic.

Keywords: truth, Chinese philosophy, concepts, methodology

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