N° 442
The Language of ‘Knowledge’ and ‘Space’ in the Later Mohist Canon (TOPOI – Towards a Historical Epistemology of Space)
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The paper presents translations and interpretations of numerous sections from the so-called 'Later Mohist Canon' that document reflective thinking on epistemic and spatial concepts. The 'Later Mohist Canon' originated in late Warring States period China (ca. 300 BCE) and, among the corpus of extant, transmitted ancient Chinese texts, is highly atypical in several respects concerning both contents and style. Yet, it is shown that there are many passages that can be clearly related to other, more traditional, contemporaneous sources. The interpretations given aim at the reconstruction of historical forms of thinking and are informed by pertinent linguistic and textual analysis. Furthermore, general issues of interpretation, such as the problem of anachronistic understanding, are discussed by way of example.