Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Mair on Xin

Victor Mair has published an essay about the meaning of <i>xin</i> 心, about which we had some considerable discussion here a little while ago.

September 30th, 2014 Posted by | Chinese philosophy - 中國哲學 - 中国哲学, Translation | one comment

One Response to Mair on Xin

  1. Yao Lin says:

    I am puzzled by why so many people believe that we need to find (or invent) a single definite English word to translate “xin”. It strikes me as obvious that in Chinese the meaning of “xin” is contextual, sometimes cognitive, sometimes emotive, sometimes physiological, etc. and that the best way to translate it is to use different terms in accordance with the contexts.
    To make this clear we could think the other way round. When we translate into Chinese the English word “justice,” the meaning of which varies by context (think about “the Supreme Court Justices” vs. “A Theory of Justice”, among many other uses), do we really need to find (or invent) a single corresponding term for it? Isn’t it natural and beneficial to simply translate it sometimes as “公正”, sometimes as “正义”, sometimes as “司法”, sometimes as “法官”, and so on and so forth? (and this is exactly the current practices by Chinese translators.)

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