Kung-Sun Lung

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kung-Sun Lung


(fourth to third centuries B.C.), ancient Chinese philosopher, dialectician, and sophist; a member of the so-called school of names (ming chia), which investigated the relationship between a “name,” that is, a concept, and reality. A treatise by Kung-sun Lung, Kung-sun Lung-tzu, presented the paradox that “a white horse is not a horse,” which became famous in Chinese philosophy. The proof of this paradox lies in the fact that, first, the notion of “horse” pertains to form, whereas the notion of “white” pertains to color, and therefore they do not coincide; second, the concept of “horse” is broader than the concept of “white horse.” Kung-sun Lung also set forth other paradoxes resembling the aporias of Zeno of Elea (for example, “a flying arrow is neither in motion nor at rest”). Kung-sun Lung introduced the concept of chih (literally, “indicators”), which denotes attributes that exist independently of things and through which things manifest themselves. Some researchers draw an analogy between these attributes and the ideas of Plato.


Bykov, F. S. Zarozhdenie obshchestvenno-politicheskoi ifilosofskoimysli v Kitae. Moscow, 1966.
Fung Yu-lan. A History of Chinese Philosophy, vol. 1. Princeton,1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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