Humour as rhetorical discourse in ancient Chinese philosophy

examples from The Works of Mencius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, appealing to emotions and logic in order to motivate or inform. As persuasive rhetorical discourse, humour has a long history in ancient Chinese philosophy, yet it is a subject understudied. By analysing the context and features of humour in early philosophical texts such as Mengzi 孟子 (The Works of Mencius), dating from the Warring States period (475–221 BCE), this paper attempts to show how humour as rhetorical discourse served pragmatic purposes of communication and persuasion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of East Asian Pragmatics
Publication statusSubmitted - Sep 2020


  • rhetoric
  • humour
  • Chinese philosophy
  • Confucianism

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