Deng Xi

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Deng.

Deng Xi (Chinese: 鄧析; Wade–Giles: Têng Hsi, also written as 祁奚; died 501 BCE) was an ancient Chinese philosopher and rhetorician who has been called the founding father of the Chinese logical tradition. He is regarded as one of the School of Names.

Deng Xi is cited by Liu Xiang for the principle of Xing-Ming. Serving as a minor official in the state of Zheng, he is reported to have drawn up a code of penal laws. He was involved with litigation. He is said to have argued for the permissibility of contradictory propositions, and he liked to engage in hair-splitting debates on the interpretation of laws, legal principles and definitions.


Deng Xi developed his debating skills in the legal courts of the state of Zheng. The Zuo Zhuan credits him with the authorship of a penal code written on bamboo which was opposed to that of Zichan.[1] None of his work has survived and the discussion in the Xunzi pairs him with Hui Shi so that it is difficult to separate their contributions.

An example of his sophistry:

The Wei River was extremely high. A person from the house of a rich man of Zheng drowned. Someone found the body. The rich man asked to buy it back. The man demanded very much money. The rich man told Deng Xi about it. Deng Xi said, “Calm down. There's certainly no one else he can sell the body to.” The man who found the body was troubled by this and told Deng Xi about it. Deng Xi replied to him by saying, “Calm down. There's certainly nowhere else they can buy the body.”[2][3]


  1. ^ Harbsmeier 1998, p. 289
  2. ^ Deng Xi’s Exploits, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  3. ^ Lü Shi Chun Qiu: Li Wei (Chinese), Chinese Text Project 
  • Harbsmeier, Christoph (1998), Kenneth Robinson, ed., Language and Logic, Joseph Needham: Science and Civilisation in China, 7 Pt 1, Cambridge University Press 
  • School of Names, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  • Спирин В. С. "Дэн Си-цзы" как логико-гносеологическое произведение: перевод и исследование / В.С. Спирин; сост. А.И. Кобзев.- 325 с. - ISBN 978-5-02-036573-5

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