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Pushkarskaya N.V. To the problem of the early categorical thinking in Ancient China

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2016-10 in rubric "The dialogue of cultures", pages 1430-1441.

Resume: This article is dedicated to one of the main issues of philosophy in general and Chinese philosophy in particular – the problem of categories. In the center of the research is the definition of the term “category” and search of the first categorical ideas within the archaic thought of Ancient China. The author also examines of the most valuable texts acquired during the archeological excavations (the end of the XX century) – treatise “Taiyi Shengshui” (“Great One gave birth to water”), which represents an example of the early categorical thinking in China. The methodological orientation consists in focusing attention on primary sources, as well as structural moments in the Ancient Green and Chinese categorical schemes. The process of formation of the categorical thinking is demonstrated in comparison with the similar process of the early Greek philosophers. The author gives a positive answer to the question of “whether or not the categorical thinking exists in the Chinese philosophy?” Among the pre-Socrates philosophers, the fourfold of the initiate elements serves as the first categorical generalizations. The first attempts of categorical perception of the world in the philosophical thought of Ancient China can be considered the basic classification patterns (binary, ternary, quinary) that lie in the foundation of the entire traditional culture and philosophy of China. The text “Taiyi Shengshui” (“Great One gave birth to water”) provides a different perspective onto the cosmological aspects of such imperative classification pattern as quinary, as well as gives chance for a deeper understanding of the analogy between the philosophy of Ancient China and philosophical constructs of the early Greek philosophers (including Thales of Miletus).

Keywords: Fourfold of Martin Heidegger, Universality, Early Greek philosophers, Philosophy of Ancient China, The five elements, Quinary classification pattern, Thales of Miletus, Fourfold, Categorical thinking, Category

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2016.10.10407

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