Essentials in the understanding of the development of pre-Qin philosophy.
The Mingjia (名家, School of Names) is a notional grouping of philosophers first recorded as such in the Shiji. Their identifying feature was a concern with linguistic issues particularly involving the correct use of names. The group, as listed in the Han Shu, comprised seven men living between the sixth and third centuries BCE. Only four of these men— Deng Xi, Yin Wen, Hui Shi, and Gongsun Long— have extant writings attributed to them, and in three of these there are issues of authenticity. Nevertheless, it is an important group for an understanding of the development of pre-Qin philosophy as the men themselves and the concepts they explored feature prominently in the writings of the other schools.
The present volume contains four parts: (i) the extant writings of the four men; (ii) all significant references to them in other works up the fourth century CE; (iii) other significant writings on the topics up to that time; and (iv) four appendices on specific issues concerning the school.
Ian Johnston is an independent scholar pursuing a lifelong interest in ancient languages, including translations of Chinese classics such as the Mozi, the Daxue & Zhongyong. (with Wang Ping), two volumes of poetry, and selections from Gu Yanwu’s writings. His Greek translations are from the works of Galen, the second century CE doctor. Johnston was Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Sydney before retirement in 1999.
Wang Ping is a senior lecturer in the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of New South Wales. Her primary research interests are in the fields of classical Chinese literature and aesthetics. She also collaborates with Ian Johnston in preparing bilingual versions of early philosophical works.