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The Relatively Happy Fish Revisited

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Abstract:

The anecdote of Zhuangzi and Hui Shi ' s brief discussion on a bridge above the Hao river gives us a nice piece of reasoning in ancient Chinese texts that may serve as a platform for a productive philosophical exchange between the East and the West. The present study examines Hansen ' s inferential analysis of Zhuangzi and Hui Shi ' s discussion in this spirit. It is argued that Hansen ' s analysis founders. To do justice to both Hui Shi and Zhuangzi, the present study proposes that we apply the logic developed in the later Mohist text, the Lesser Pick, to an analysis of their discussion. The re-analysis shows that the intricate dialectic of the reasoning in which Zhuangzi and Hui Shi engage, neatly accords with the pattern of discourse expounded in the Lesser Pick, and gives us global insight into Zhuangzi ' s final statement in the anecdote, which is notoriously recondite, or confusing.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09552360500491833

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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