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The Correlation between "Yan", "Yu", "Lun", "Shuo" and the Argumentation Style of the Pre-Qin Period

Author: QiuYuan
Tutor: WangQiZhou
School: Central China Normal University
Course: Chinese classical literature
Keywords: "Yan" "Yu" "Lun" "Shuo" argumentation of the Pre-Qin Period argumentation style
CLC: I206.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 543
Quote: 3
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Based upon the available documentaries of the Pre-Qin Period,this thesis discusses the basic forms about the Yan-styled,Yu-styled,Lun-styled and Shuo-styled argumentation of the Pre-Qin Period,through probing into the concepts of"Yan"(言),"Yu"(语),"Lun"(论)and "Shuo"(说), respectively.Originally,the word "Yan" meant the ordinary saying.Before the emergence of mature argumentation,the basic form of argumentation expressed by means of the decretals,proverbs and apothegms.During the Spring and Autumn Period,people frequently referred to the philosophic decretals,proverbs and apothegms as "Yan".At the same time,people referred to the fine collection of those proverbs and apothegms as "Yan".For instance,it mentioned the title Jianyan(《建言》)in Daodejing(《道德经》)during the Spring and Autumn Period.There was an article named Fuyan (《符言》)in a book named Wenzi(《文子》)and an article with the same title in Guiguzi(《鬼谷子》)during the Period of Warring States.Based upon these evidences,people referred to the mature argumentations as "Yan" as well.Examples can be found in argumentations named Guanzi.Bayan(《管子·霸言》),and Shangjunshu.Yiyan(《商君书壹言》),and so on.In fact,during the Pre-Qin Period,the word "Yu" used independently communicated with "Yan". Furthermore,the word "Yu" had the indications about discussion and debate.On one hand,"Yu" also was referred to the philosophic proverbs and apothegms during the Spring and Autumn Period.On the other hand,"Yu" related to the meanings about discussion and debate,and that made the literature named with "Yu" carded the complex feature of saying mingled with recorded events,for instance Guoyu(《国语》).The meaning of "Lun" expressed the implication of idea,which made those argumentations named with "Lun" have direct theme and take setting forth one’s views as principal thing,such as, Tianlun(《天论》),Lilun(《礼论》)and Yuelun(《乐论》)in Xunzi(《荀子》),and so on.In addition,the word "Lun" had the implications of "discussion" and "debate",which made those argumentations with the feature of confutation named with "Lun" too,for instance Xunzi.Zhenglun(《荀子·正论》).The meaning of "shuo" expressed the explaining or the speaking during the Pre-Qin Period, which made those articles interpreted classics named with "shuo" during the Period of Warring States, for instance Mozi..lingshuo(《墨子·经说》).At the same time,it made the argumentations with reasoning explanation named with "shuo" as well,such as Zhuangzi.Shuojian(《庄子·说剑》), Hanfeizi.Shuoyi(《韩非子·说疑》)and Shang/unshu.Shuomin,and so on.To be delighted and ingratiating together with other meanings of "shuo" indicated trying to please others was the important factor of the emergence and the important feature of the argumentations named with "shuo".We now refer to the philosophic decretal,proverb and apothegm as Yah-styled argumentation (言体论说文).We then refer to the article with the features such as discussion,debate,saying mingled with recorded events as Yu-styled argumentation(语体论说文).And we thus refer to the relatively mature independent argumentation which gave first place to discussing and reasoning as Lun-styled argumentation(论体说文),and it included mainly the argumentation setting forth one’s views and the argumentation confuting other’s views.The Lun-styled argumentation would cover a broad range,namely the main part of the Pre-Qin Philosophers’ articles.As it was considered by Liuxie(刘勰),the Lun-styled article contained the items such as policy expression,classics interpretation,history discussion and article explanation.Finally,we refer to the argumentation for canvassing,twists and turns,with beautiful language and pleasant explanation as Shuo-styled argumentation(说体论说文).Both the Yan-styled and Yu-styled argumentation were immature argumentation forms,while the Lun-styled and Shuo-styled argumentation were the comparatively mature argumentation forms during the Pre-Qin Period.There is not clear borderline between the Yan-styled and the Yu-styled argumentation,and the only difference was how many recorded events and tackled debates.There is not clear borderline between the Ltm-styled and the Shuo-styled argumentation either.To many articles written by the Pre-Qin Philosophers,It was hard to obviously and clearly classify them as the Lun-styled or the Shuo-styled argumentation.Comparatively the Lun-styled argumentations expressed more directly and frankly,while the Shuo-styled argumentation paid more attention to using strategies and language skills.In a word,the argumentations of the Pre-Qin Period developed from the ordinary saying.The ordinary saying then generated the proverbs and the apothegms,which were Yan-styled argumentations.And the ordinary saying further developed argumentations with direct idea expression, which were mainly embodied in the argumentations setting forth one’s views of Lun-styled.Thus,the argumentations of the Pre-Qin Period developed from discussing and debating.These were mainly the Yu-styled argumentations with saying mingled with recorded events,or the argumentations confuting other’s views of the Lun-styled.The argumentations of the Pre-Oin Period were the outcome of explanation to classics,for instance,Mozi.Jingshuo(《墨子·经说》)and the other classics explanation articles collected in Guanzi(《管子》).While the Pre-Qin Philosophers interpreted the predecessors’ classics,they expressed their own ideas.The argumentations of the Pre-Qin Period developed from trying to please others with words.The advisers of the Period of Warring States often used some pleasant talks to ingratiate themselves with the takers while discussing their own ideas.The argumentations from ingratiating were the Shuo-styled argumentations.

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