, was a Chinese philosopher during the Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...
. He was a representative of the School of Names (Sophists or Dialecticians), and is famous for ten paradoxes about the relativity of time and space, for instance, "I set off for Yue
Yue was a state in China which existed during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period , in the modern province of Zhejiang. During the Spring and Autumn Period, its capital was in Guiji , near the modern city of Shaoxing...
(southernmost China) today and came there yesterday."
Works mentioning Hui Shi
The philosophical writings of Hui Shi are no longer extant, but several Chinese classic texts
Chinese classic texts, or Chinese canonical texts, today often refer to the pre-Qin Chinese texts, especially the Neo-Confucian titles of Four Books and Five Classics , a selection of short books and chapters from the voluminous collection called the Thirteen Classics. All of these pre-Qin texts...
refer to him, including the Zhan Guo Ce
The Zhan Guo Ce is a renowned ancient Chinese historical work and compilation of sporadic materials on the Warring States Period compiled between the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE...
, Lüshi Chunqiu
The Lüshi Chunqiu is an encyclopedic Chinese classic text compiled around 239 BCE under the patronage of the Qin Dynasty Chancellor Lü Buwei...
, Han Feizi
The Han Feizi is a work written by Han Feizi at the end of the Warring States Period in China, detailing his political philosophy. It belongs to the Legalist school of thought....
, and most frequently, the Zhuangzi
The Taoist book Zhuangzi was named after its purported author Zhuangzi, the philosopher. Since 742 CE, when Emperor Xuanzong of Tang mandated honorific titles for Taoist texts, it has also been known as the Nánhuá Zhēnjīng , literally meaning "True Classic of Southern Florescence," alluding to...
chapters mention Hui Shi, calling him "Huizi" 26 times and "Hui Shi" 9 times. "Under Heaven" (chapter 33), which summarizes Warring States philosophies, contains all of the latter 9 references by name.
The ten theses
"Under Heaven" lists Hui Shi's ten theses (sometimes referred to as the ten paradoxes):
Relation to Zhuangzi
Most of the other Zhuangzi
passages portray Hui Shi (Huizi) as a friendly rival of Zhuangzi
Zhuangzi was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, a period corresponding to the philosophical summit of Chinese thought — the Hundred Schools of Thought, and is credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name,...
. Hui Shi acts as an intellectual foil who argues the alternative viewpoint, or criticizes the Daoist perspective, often with moments of humor. The best known of the Zhuang-Hui dialogues concerns the subjectivity of happiness.
According to these ancient Daoist stories, Zhuangzi and Hui Shi remained friendly rivals until death.
Chad Hansen (2003:146) interprets this lament as "the loss of a philosophical partnership, of two like-minded but disagreeing intellectual companions engaged in the joys of productive philosophical argument."