La traducción del 2010 del Caballo Blanco de Bryan W. Van Norden

De Gongsunlongzi
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Para leer la Introducción a la traducción de Bryan W. Van Norden, autor de "Virtue ethics and consequentialism in early Chinese philosophy", haga clic aquí: White Horse.

A.

Can it be that a white horse is not a horse?1

Advocate: It can.2

Objector: How?

Advocate: "Horse" is that by means of which one names the shape. "White" is that by means of which one names the color. What names the color is not what names the shape. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse.

B.

Objector: If there are white horses, one cannot say that there are no horses. If one cannot say that there are no horses, doesn't that mean that there are horses? For there to be white horses is for there to be horses. How could it be that the white ones are not horses?

Advocate: If one wants a horse, that extends to a yellow or black horse. But if one wants a white horse, that does not extend to a yellow or black horse. Suppose that a white horse were a horse. Then what one wants [in the two cases] would be the same. If what one wants were the same, then a white [horse] would not differ from a horse. If what one wants does not differ, then how is it that a yellow or black horse is sometimes acceptable and sometimes unacceptable? It is clear that acceptable and unacceptable are mutually contrary. Hence, yellow and black horses are the same [in that, if there are yellow or black horses], one can respond that there are horses, but one cannot respond that there are white horses. Thus, it is evident that a white horse is not a horse.

C.

Objector: You think that horses that are colored are not horses. In the world, it is not the case that there are horses with no color. Can it be that there are no horses in the world?


Advocate: Horses certainly have color. Hence, there are white horses. If it were the case that horses had no color, there would simply be horses, and then how could one select a white horse?3 A white horse is a horse and white. A horse and a white horse [are different]. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse.

D.

Objector: "Horse" not yet combined with "white" is horse. "White" not yet combined with "horse" is white. If one combines "horse" and "white," one uses the compound phrase "white horse." This is to take what is not combined and combine them as a phrase.4 Hence, I say that it cannot be that a white horse is not a horse.5

Advocate: You think that there being white horses is there being horses. Is it acceptable to say that there being white horses is there being yellow horses?

Objector: It is not acceptable.

Advocate: If you think that there being horses is different from there being yellow horses, this is for yellow horses to be different from horses. If you differentiate yellow horses from horses, this is to think that yellow horses are not horses. To think that yellow horses are not horses, yet to think that white horses are horses -- this is to turn things upside down and inside out!6 This is the most incoherent doctrine and confused discourse in the world!

E.

Objector: If there are white horses, one cannot say that there are no horses, because of what is called "the separability of white."7 Only according to those people who do not separate can having a white horse not be said to be having a horse.8 Hence, the reason we think there are horses is only that we think that "horse" is "there are horses." It is not that we think "there are white horses" is "there are horses." Hence, because of the reason that there are horses, one cannot say that a [white] horse [is not] a horse.9

Advocate: "White" does not fix that which is white. It ignores that. The expression "white horse" fixes that which is white. That which fixes what is white is not white. "Horse" is indifferent to color. Hence, [if you were only looking for a horse,] a yellow or black horse would each be appropriate. "White horse" does select for color. So [if you were looking for a white horse,] a yellow or black horse would be rejected on account of its color. Hence, only a white horse alone would be appropriate. That which does not reject is not what does reject. Hence, I say that a white horse is not a horse.

Notes

  • 1. As the translation suggests, it is possible that the issue is not whether it is always true that "a white horse is not a horse," but whether it is possible for it to be true.
  • 2. The two speakers in the dialogue are not named. I have labeled them "advocate," who defends the thesis that a white horse is not a horse, and "objector," who argues against this thesis. The section headings ("A," "B," etc.) are also not in the original.
  • 3. Following this sentence in the original Chinese, there is a sentence that reads, "Hence, white is not horse." This does not seem to make any sense in context, so I have left it out.
  • 4. I believe that this sentence is a defense of saying that "a white horse is a horse." (See the next note for my interpretation.) However, following this sentence in the original Chinese, there is a sentence that reads, "That is not acceptable." I do not think this makes any sense in context, so I have left that sentence out. However, many translators leave that sentence in, which would mean that the sentence immediately prior to this note is an objection to saying that "a white horse is not a horse."
  • 5. The argument may be that, since "horse" refers to horse when it is used as a simple expression, it must continue to refer to horse when it becomes part of a compound expression. Since we can obviously say that "a horse is a horse," we can also say that "a white horse is a horse."
  • 6. Literally, "…this is for flying things to enter the water, and for the inner and outer coffins to be in different places!"
  • 7. "Separability" seems to have been a technical term in ancient Chinese philosophy of language. It apparently referred to the possibility of discussing separately two terms that were used in a compound expression. For example, one Chinese commentator observes that "There must be a shape corresponding to a name, and the best way to examine the shape is to distinguish the colour from it…" (translation from A.C. Graham, Later Mohist Logic [London: University of London, 1978] , p. 175.)
  • 8. Translation of this line follows the Dao zang version of the text.
  • 9. The last part of this sentence literally reads, "…one cannot say that horse horse." I have amended the text to make sense out of it.
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