MoL-2020-06: ‘White horse not horse’: An Analysis of Modern Interpretative Approaches to Kung-sun Lung’s White Horse Discourse

MoL-2020-06: Havelange, Maëlle (2020) ‘White horse not horse’: An Analysis of Modern Interpretative Approaches to Kung-sun Lung’s White Horse Discourse. [Pre-print]

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This thesis provides an analysis of the assumptions and methods of modern, English interpretations of the White Horse Discourse, an ancient text attributed to the Chinese philosopher Kung-sun Lung (ca. 320-250 B.C.E.), in which he argues for the paradoxical claim that a white horse is not a horse. It places these in the context of cross-cultural philosophy and examines them from the angles of comparison, hermeneutics, post-colonialism and methodology. Doing so, it can be shown that the majority of these interpretations are based on a Western perspective, indicate little reflection on hermeneutic issues, and have some attention for post-colonial perspectives but offer no satisfactory way of moving beyond the Western perspective. Moreover, they can be roughly divided into two groups, namely those whose aim it is to recover Kung-sun Lung’s original thought, and those who focus on understanding the text in a way that makes sense for a modern reader. While the former aim may seem to be more fair, it relies on problematic assumptions regarding the existence and accessibility of the original thought of Kung-sun Lung. The second aim appears to be more in line with a hermeneutic view of interpretation, which may be compatible with the demand to remedy Western thought’s undue prominence in cross-cultural philosophy. A hermeneutic, post-colonial view would require that prejudice in interpretation be brought to light rather than entirely banished, since that would not be possible. Finally, this thesis shows that covert assumptions about the nature of rationality underlie interpretations of the White Horse Discourse.

Item Type: Pre-print
Report Nr: MoL-2020-06
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2020
Subjects: Logic
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2020 12:55
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2020 13:18

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