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Mician Logic

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: WSW et al / On: Mician Logic: Canons A From: Bruce As a further note, provoked by the recent Johnston translation of Mwodz, and supplementing a previous
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 21, 2011
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      To: WSW et al / On: Mician Logic: Canons A
      From: Bruce

      As a further note, provoked by the recent Johnston translation of Mwodz, and
      supplementing a previous question in which I invited impressions of this
      work:

      In MZ 40 (Canons A), there is a numbering difference between Johnston and
      Graham. Johnston gets 99, whereas Graham had 98. The difference occurs at
      Graham A46-47, between which Johnston makes a separate canon (his A47) out
      of material which Graham disposes elsewhere. Since the Johnston canon has
      the keyword yi "augmentation" whereas the preceding A46 (in both systems)
      has the keyword sun "diminution" (paired in the Yi also, where each has a
      hexagram to itself), and since such pairing or clustering by keyword is
      common in MZ 40, it seems that however fragmentary it may be, Johnston is
      right to recognize a separate canon here. Notice that the preceding few
      canons can without strain be grouped in pairs, thus

      A40/41 duration in time/extension in space
      A42-43 limit/completion
      A44-45 begin/transform

      Does anyone see an objection to preferring Johnston's division here?

      Bruce

      Of course A26/27, in both systems, have some interest as reflecting the
      Golden Rule issue, a crux unknown in the West Asian studies area, or
      whatever it should be called, and thus available for the solitary enrichment
      of the Sinological fraternity:

      A26/27 benefit/harm, glossed in the respective Explanations as "What one is
      pleased to get / dislikes getting (with specific Comment contrast to the
      preceding canon). This is not the definition one would have expected from a
      general reading of the chronologically previous ethical material, from the
      beginning (for a systematic view of its order of composition, see now Taeko
      in WSP v1).

      This being from somewhere in the mid to late 04c, long before Tobit.

      I note that canon pairing is not consistent between these and the
      abovementioned six: there are (as I see it) two groups of three, or a group
      of two followed by a singlet: A31-32 plus 33 and A36-38, where A36/38 make a
      nice pair (reward and punishment), here separated (I would not quite say
      "interrupted") by a related and fundamental concept (dzwei "guilt"). Rather,
      we have two intersecting pairs: A36/38 "reward/punishment" and A37/38
      "crime/punishment." Then follows the singlet A39 tung "same, jointly."

      So the canons seem, at first glance, not to have been composed on a tight
      formal pattern (such as I think we find in the original layout of the
      Analects chapters, qv), but rather a practical and flexible one which
      nevertheless groups things together by large subject or theme, and prefers a
      pairing structure of individual canons as a sort of structural default, when
      there is no counterpressure from the subject matter.

      ALSO

      But is it possible that later pressure from the subjectmatter has led to the
      insertion of late canons which violate a more consistent earlier pairing
      pattern? I haven't got to the point of proposing same, but I am keeping A33
      chye "about to," A37 dzwei "crime" and A39 tung "same, like" on my deskpad
      by way of future awareness.

      99 canons looks a lot like 100 canons, a nicer number. Were the final
      compilers of this series reaching for that conclusion (as the Shr editors
      were at the end concerned to get exactly 300 poems, and for that matter, as
      the ethical Micians were concerned to round off their ethical topics at no
      more and no less than 3 essays per topic, always excepting the abortive
      topic Fei Ru), and did they in fact get there, and may there then be, as
      with Johnston's A47, a still latent and perhaps highly fragmentary 100th
      canon, lurking still undiscovered within the reconstruction thus far? There
      will be a prize for the one making a convincing proposal (or offering a
      convincing argument that none such is present).

      (If this is true, of course, then Graham's transfer of four seeming canons
      to another reconstructed text may be due for reconsideration).

      Opinions welcome as usual from those who have spent time with this material,
      or (for that matter) from those who are spontaneously encountering it for
      the first time.

      [Carine: Did you get this? If not, write me at once]

      [E Bruce Brooks
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst]


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