Features of Protocategorical Thinking in Ancient China
Russian Journal of Philosophical Sciences
The article deals with to the early forms of categorical thinking. The conceptual schemes are formed independently of each other in various ancient civilizations, and that is an evidence of the universal nature of some fundamental features of early categorical thinking. The author proceeds from the idea that defning characteristics of categorical thinking (according to the prominentGermanphilosophersI.Kant and M. Heidegger) are the apriority and the extreme generality of concepts. Thus, a
... epts. Thus, a category is an extremely generalized concept, the last basis for the explanation of the all being by reducing it to a few defning beginnings; and this is an original, structuring perception form of conceptuality, which man has before any empirical experience (i.e. a priori). The same, with some reservations, can be said about the ancient sages' elemental principles of being because these principles meet the above mentioned requirements of categoricity. These basic conceptual constructs (such as the binary, ternary and quinary classifcations inChinaand the four elements of the early Greek philosophers) with extreme generality reflect the structure of the world around and serve as the structural basis for less general concepts. Proposed explication of the conceptual nature of the Chinese "fve elemental forces" is appealing to the Kantian idea of the transcendental scheme. This idea brings us closer to understanding the early forms of categorical thinking in general and the schematism of Chinese thinking in particular. The article also considers the original interpretation of the Kantian scheme by Umberto Eco.