James Legge, Scholars, Disinformation, Propaganda

James Legge, Scholars, Disinformation, Propaganda

James Legge China 1815-97

(PD) James Legge China.

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2023, February 15, 2023

A few days after uploading the In Appreciation of Oxford University - Review of Scholastic Standards article, it was discovered that for over twenty years a variety of scholar-philosophers have been actively promoting sensationalist disinformation and propaganda about James Legge, and, upon a brief investigation, it was found that at least one of the individuals is directly connected to Oxford University.

On the surface it appears that the scholar-philosophers began their incursion into the James Legge topic while with an innocent interest in the related topics of Eastern religions, philosophies, and cultures. Having an interest in a topic is a good and honorable thing that enables an individual to exert the effort to uncover useful answers. Some of the scholar-philosophers' assembled data on documented histories is useful and appreciated, but sometimes the researchers entered into a topic that they had no expertise with, and the results have caused problems that cannot easily be remedied. On the topic of James Legge, if the scholar-philosophers had remained focused on the historical events within Legge's life, then the results ought to have been favorable. Unfortunately, some scholar-philosophers mistakenly assumed that Legge was skilled with a knowledge of the ancient Chinese language, and the mistake is now fueling a widening flood of absurd social beliefs, myths, and a deepened public disinterest and disdain for all things related to Confucius.

Confucian topics of logic and self-improvement have never been popular in western cultures, and so in many ways the scholar-philosophers' errors may not be much noticeable to most people. Nevertheless, regardless of how small an error is, it becomes an ingredient of the whole of man's beliefs, which permanently taints man's thoughts and ability to think clearly.

The simple goal of this article is to point-out a few of the reasons of why the scholar-philosophers' claims about James Legge's "genius" are invalid.

Background Logic

For over two-thousand years western philosophy has debated words like ethics without yet having discovered what an ethic is. For over two-thousand years eastern philosophers have debated words like junzi without yet having discovered what a junzi is. Similarly, modern scholar-philosophers continue to debate words without the scholar-philosophers first knowing what the words mean. Within a relatively small segment of the scholar-philosophers are debates and claims about how well James Legge translated ancient Chinese words, but none of the scholar-philosophers know what the words mean that the scholar-philosophers are debating and claiming to be of James Legge's alleged "genius".

It is obvious: a person cannot know what a word means if the person has not firsthand observed and firsthand learned what the thing is that the word is supposed to imply. A person cannot know what the word high means until after the person has physically stood upon a high surface (i.e. a tall mountain or a tall building). A person cannot know what the word deep means until after the person has physically stood within a deep gorge (i.e. the floor of the Grand Canyon). The firsthand experience creates the physics-based firsthand understanding of what the words mean. Without the firsthand experience, all words are given imaginary definitions. Imaginary definitions cannot explain what a word means.

Strongly relevant for all words of all religions and ideologies, is that a person must firsthand experience and firsthand observe oneself being what the words imply. A person must first be steadfast ethical before the person can know what the word ethical implies. A person must first be a self-achieved junzi before the person can know what the word junzi implies. A person must firsthand experience several different degrees of heart-felt happiness before the person can know what the word happy implies. A person must first be heart-felt reverent before the person can know what the word reverent implies.

Almost universal within scholar-philosophers is the inability to self-observe, and without the ability to self-observe there is no possibility of the scholar-philosophers to comprehend what words mean. Without the ability to self-observe and to self-describe what was self-observed, all word definitions must be imaginary. Hermeneutics is a word that was invented by philosophers, and given the philosopher-invented definition that hermeneutics implies a scientific methodological study and interpretation of texts. Having invented the word and its definition, the philosophers are now claiming to be scientific in their interpretations of words that the philosophers do not — and cannot — know the meanings of.

Si Da Bueno

Within various Buddhist, Zen, and Taoist writings it is common to see comments about thinking with the stomach, heart, and head. Individuals whom themselves possess the ability to 'think' with the stomach, heart, and head, are able to give lengthy detailed descriptions of what the words imply, and too, the individuals understand what the written words infer. Within Confucian texts there is an emphasis on the heart (i.e. (si)), which is not a mystical magical supernatural thing that is acquired from believing in Confucian ideas, but rather the ability to 'think' with the heart is a natural state that naturally self-develops prior to birth within individuals of specific inward natures, and, apparently, may have been a relatively common trait in the ancient China region (prior to the advent of organized 'ear to mouth' rote memorization of words in schools, which destroys the natural development of a child's mind). As the Confucian texts are written, the texts appear to assume that the reader possesses the self-developed inward nature.

Many hundreds of books, papers, and videos are permanent records of European and American scholar-philosophers admitting that they do not know what the word (si) implies. Without knowing what si means, and while admitting that they do not know what si means, still the scholar-philosophers claim that si means the identical same type of "thinking" that European scholar-philosophers do. Observe that scholar-philosophers knowingly and purposefully invent imaginary claims that fully contradict what the scholar-philosophers claimed the moment before. The behavior is replete throughout all of James Legge's translations, that of his sentences contradicting the sentences before and after.

Si is a core necessity within all Confucian ideals. Without the knowledge of what si is, and without the personal possession of si, then no ancient Chinese text is able to be usefully translated into English. None. Zero. Permanently not possible.

An analogy is of people claiming to know that microwaves are harmless, and yet the people know nothing of — nor are able to describe — electromagnetic waves. Scholar-philosophers know nothing of waves, and yet scholar-philosophers claim to know what waves are.

Without si, a parallel is Lewis Terman's mention of the inability to cross-light thoughts, which leads to the person's inevitable contradictions of logic. Legge did not possess si, nor do the scholar-philosophers possess si, and yet James Legge is claimed to have been a "genius" translator.

Example of Legge's Absurdities

Shu Er #38 is one of the scholar-philosophers' glorified translations by James Legge: "The Master was mild, and yet dignified; majestic, and yet not fierce; respectful, and yet easy." A quick draft word-per-word translation of the same original Chinese sentence reads as "Zi warm while sharp... powerful spirit while not intense... reverent while calm." The original Chinese sentence points at contrasts, while also describing Confucius' inner nature. Legge, as always, held no mental concept of what inner natures are. The original sentence spoke of beautiful inner qualities, but Legge wrote of crude and dishonest European outer behaviors. Outer behaviors (i.e. a moral) are not inner natures (i.e. the ethic that caused the effect of the moral). Scholar-philosophers strongly proclaim their belief in science, but all scholar-philosophers always deny the science of physics and the science of cause and effect.

The original Shu Er sentence spoke of contrasts that combine into one quality concept, but Legge, as always, was unable to mentally assemble two contrasts, nor able to mentally assemble two concepts (no si), resulting in Legge inventing an ugliness that mirrored what he himself had firsthand experience with: a missionary academician preaching fabrications.

Most all ancient Chinese words 100% rely upon the reader's ability to mentally assemble two or more concepts. Ancient Chinese words cannot possibly be translated by individuals who are unable to mentally combine concepts. From What is Normal - Normalcy Research Project Finalized: "The 'three concepts' test verified that normal people — irrespective of IQ — cannot connect thoughts." James Legge was unable to connect two or more concepts, which renders it to have been impossible for James Legge to have been mentally capable of accurately translating the Chinese Classics.

All known scholar-philosopher writings about James Legge are from individuals of whom themselves found an interest in James Legge's translations — which is an acceptable reason for the individuals to write about James Legge — but none of the scholar-philosophers' own occupational and personal specialties included firsthand experience with the topics themselves, which must and does result in the individuals' interpretations of James Legge's translations to be imaginary, and thus invalid.

The Propaganda's Global Influence

The core problem with the scholar-philosophers' claims of James Legge's "genius" is that the public is being led to assume that the claims are true truth. The google.com scholar listings now include the scholar-philosophers' books and papers as being legitimate "peer-reviewed" truths. Search engine rankings of a website may now be judged relative to whether the website agrees with the 'scholar listings'. Websites that give 100% verifiable scientific and mathematical evidence are often black-listed by search engines because the facts do not agree with the scholar-philosophers' inventions, which results in the general public only being given disinformation.

Through use of unlearned books, false newspaper reports, historical inventions, hearsay, and imaginations, the propagandists (and book sellers) are creating the story that James Legge was a "genius" sinologist whose translations were accurate and "brilliant".

Related Articles

The following are several articles on this website that have information that directly relates to and expands upon the above topics.

High versus low is a physics-based firsthand learning: Xunzi Book - Encourage Learning #1.

'Peer-review' is a false guide: Mermaid Effect.

The purposefully invented lie of William Sidis being the world's smartest man: [1] Was William James Sidis the Smartest Man on Earth?, [2] Myths, Facts, and Lies about Prodigies - A Historiography of William James Sidis.

Propagandists' histories invented from false newspaper reports: Thomas Edison - Intelligence Tests and Theories.

Propagandists' histories invented from oral hearsay: The Secret of the Golden Flower.

Scholar-philosophers — which included James Legge — are only able to speak of outside things, and never able to speak of inside things: Tao Inside Outside #27.

Accuracy of translation is not near as important as the tone of one's heart; Legge's tone was cold and mean: Discourses & Sayings of Confucius - Legge vs Ku (Legge's translations exhibited an absence of durational mental patterns, combined with imaginative story-telling).

Legge was unable to recognize contrasts: Care About Other People "Legge wrote: "While there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in the state of Equilibrium."" A useful translation of Zhong Yong #1 states: 'Happy angry, grieve laugh, it have-not expressed, call it center'." Legge did not recognize contrasts, nor did he have a firsthand understanding of, nor an educated knowledge of, what the words 'middle' and 'center' imply. The Chinese word (zhong - middle, center) most emphatically does not relate to the European definition of "the mind", and zhong is far further distant from Legge's "Equilibrium". Legge did not know what the topics were, and when combined upon his own absence of firsthand experience, plus his own lack of mental development, it was impossible for Legge to translate topical words accurately. Legge's finished products were grossly incorrect and misleading.

James Legge was inconsistent and a liar who purposefully twisted words. Confucian Analects Quotes and Commentary Wei Zheng #12: "The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a utensil."". Compare to Confucian Analects Quotes and Commentary Wei Zheng #14: "The Master said, "The superior man is catholic and not partisan."" For the words jun zi (junzi), which imply a concept near 'noble child' or 'quality man', which infers an individual of quality inner traits, Legge most often stated "superior man", which is an inferior translation that judges inner qualities by undefined outer standards, but he would also choose different concepts when the different concepts painted himself as 'superior'. In the above example within the same book, Legge used superior man and accomplished scholar for jun zi. 'Superior man' and 'accomplished scholar' are not cognate, nor synonymous, nor rational.

In Li Ren Legge states: #3 "The Master said, "It is only the (truly) virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others." (a draft translation shows 'Zi say: Ordinary benevolence person-ist, able good-harmonious people, able inferior-heart people'. In #4 Legge states "The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of wickedness" (a draft translation shows 'Zi said: Thoughtfulness aspiration be benevolence (-carry), not-have inferior-heart {also}'). Legge translated the 'inferior-heart' word as "hate", and then in the next sentence he translated 'inferior-heart' as "wickedness". Legge ignored the original word's meaning, ignored the sentences' contrasts, ignored the sentences' concepts, ignored his purposeful contradiction, and ignored the fact that he gave an external interpretation to an inner trait.

Legge also used "virtue" instead of "benevolence", which was a common choice by Legge (plausibly a habit acquired from his 'large voice with face' preaching of book words as a missionary), and which also fully destroyed the original texts' message. The entirety of Legge's translations are similarly contradictory, deceitful, and incoherent.

Thousands and thousands of times Legge did similarly for other Chinese words. It is common for scholar-philosophers (from 200 B.C. to today) to claim that they alone are the sole source of all knowledge and wisdom, and the scholar-philosophers purposefully twist the ancient Chinese texts to infer that no one is able to know anything without memorizing 'ear to mouth' words from a plebeian school employee: Xunzi Encourage Learning #3 is a useful example.

Legge never so much as learned how to interpret the early Christian symbols, which proves that he would also be incapable of interpreting early Chinese symbols. Legge did not master Christianity, Chinese, nor academia, and yet the propagandists are striving to invent Legge as being a genius of all three.


It makes absolutely no difference whether or not Legge could adequately translate some modern conversational Chinese into modern conversational English; the fact remains that he was unable to translate ancient Chinese. Legge could not describe what the English word ethic means, which mandates that he also could not have accurately translated a Chinese word that inferred an ethic. It is eternally impossible for an individual to accurately translate an unknown foreign word into an unknown English word, but, that is precisely what the scholar-philosophers are claiming that James Legge was able to do.

Similarly as it has become popular opinion that William Sidis was the smartest man on earth, so is it plausible that James Legge may become popularly believed to have been a genius of ancient Chinese translations. The goal of the propagandists' is to create James Legge as a hero, as have propagandists done with other now-famous individuals.

If a person lies, then the person ought to accept responsibility and not get upset when someone else points-out the lie. The propagandists are lying.

The Positive Side

To understand what the word 'sun' means; see sun.

To understand what the word 'center' means; be inwardly centered.

To understand what the word 'virtue' means; be inwardly virtuous.

To understand what the word 'ethic' means; self-observe one's own mind as it chooses its standard.

First understand through personal firsthand experience what a thing is, and then give the thing a name. If the thing is not known, then the name cannot be understood.

First understand what words mean, before attempting to translate the words.

Become a noble person before attempting to translate what the word 'junzi' means.

If a man is sincere with his aspiration to translate ancient Chinese texts, then he will first achieve quality inward traits.

See the wrong of attempting to translate unknown words. Choose the right of understanding what the words mean.

Logic chooses the correct sequence. The act of logic betters oneself.