Inference in the Mengzi 1A:7

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (3):444-454 (2011)
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In 1A:7 of the Mengzi, Mengzi tries to convince King Xuan of Qi that he is a “true” king. As a reading of Mengzi’s reasoning involved in his attempt at persuasion, David Nivison advances an inferential view, according to which Mengzi’s persuasion involves inferences. In this paper, I consider the assumptions underlying the objections raised against Nivison’s inferential view. I argue that these objections assume a contemporary Western view about the nature of logic and inferences. I propose an alternative characterisation of the relevant sense of inference that, I believe, is more sensitive to the classical Chinese philosophical context and argue that certain insights can be derived from reading Mengzi in light of this alternative characterization of inferences.
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