This essay critiques Chad Hansen's "mass noun hypothesis," arguing that though most Classical Chinese nouns do function as mass nouns, this fact does not support the claim that pre-Qin thinkers treat the extensions of common nouns as mereological wholes, nor does it explain why they adopt nominalist semantic theories. The essay shows that early texts explain the use of common nouns by appeal to similarity relations, not mereological relations. However, it further argues that some early texts do characterize the relation between individuals and collections as a mereological relation.
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 24, 2007