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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-G027-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

In the Western metaphysical tradition, ‘being’ has most generally been thought to denote either a common property of things or a container which relates things by placing them within its own structure. Metaphysical notions of being are generally associated with the concept of ground. By contrast, the Chinese existential verb you (being) overlaps with the sense of ‘having’ rather than the copula, and therefore you (to be) means ‘to be present’ or ‘to be around’ while wu (not to be) means ‘not to be present’ or ‘not to be around’. This means that wu does not indicate strict opposition or contradiction, but absence. Thus, the you–wu distinction suggests mere contrast in the sense of either the presence or absence of x, rather than an assertion of the existence or nonexistence of x.

Citing this article:
Hall, David L. and Roger T. Ames. You–wu, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-G027-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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