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Chinese art of war

Examples of Integrated, Multi-set Concept Schemes (Annex 9)

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See other Examples of Integrated, Multi-set Concept Schemes. The concept scheme described here is discussed in the paper on: Patterns of N-foldness: comparison of integrated multi-set concept schemes as forms of presentation (1984). This was prepared for a sub-project meeting of the Forms of Presentation group of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (GPID) project of the United Nations University (UNU). The annexes were published in Patterns of Conceptual Integration. Brussels, UIA, 1984, pp. 161-204


The study from which the following extracts are made "has had a profound influence throughout Chinese history and on Japanese military thought; it is the source of Mao Tse-tung's strategic theories and that of the tactical doctrine of the Chinese armies. Through the Hongol-Tartars, Sun Tzu's ideas were transmitted to Russia and became a substantial part of her oriental heritage. 'The Art of War' is thus required reading for those who hope to gain further understanding of the grand strategy of these two countries today". His "is the first known attempt to formulate a rational basis for the planning and conduct of military operations". The book, believed to have been composed in the 4th century BC, is entitled:

Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Oxford University Press, 1963 (translated by S B Griffith with a foreword by B H Liddell Hart; accepted in the Chinese Translations Series of UNESCO)

0.1 "Now an army mey be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness. And as water shapes its flow in accordance with the ground, so an army manages its victory in accordance with the situation of the enemy. And as water has no constant form, there are in war no constant conditions. Thus, one able to gain the victory by modifying his tactics in accordance with the enemy situation may be said to be divine. Of the five elements, none is always predominant; of the four seasons, none lasts forever; of the days, some are long and some short, and the moon waxes and wanes." [p. 101)

2.1 "Generally, in battle, use the normal force to engage; use the extraordinary to win. Now the resources of those skilled in the use of extraordinary forces- are as infinite as the heavens and earth....In battle there are only the normal and extraordinary forces, but their combinations are limitless; none can comprehend them all. For these two forces are mutually reproductive; their interaction as endless as that of interlocked rings. Who can determine where one ends and the other begins ?" [p. 91-23

3.1 "Now there are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:

4.1 "Generally, these are advantageous for encamping in the four situations named (taking up positions: in mountains, near a river, in salt marshes, in level ground)." (p. 116-7)

5.1 "War is a matter of vital importance to the State...Therefore, appraise it in terms of the five fundamental factors...So you may assess its essentials. The first of these factors is moral influence; the second, weather; the third, terrain; the fourth, command; and the fifth, doctrine." [p. 63)

5.2 "Now there are five circumstances in which vitory may be predicted:

5.2 "Now the elements of the art of war are first, measurement of space; second, estimation of quantities; third, calculations; fourth, comparisons; and fifth, chances of victory." (p. 88)

5.3 "There are five qualities which are dangerous in the character of a general:

Now these five traits of character are serious faults in a general and in military operations are calamitous." (p. 114-53

5.4 "There are five methods of attacking with fire." (p. 141)

5.5 "Now there are five sorts of secret agents to be employed. These are native, inside, doubled, expendable, and living." (p. 145)

6.1 "Ground may be classified according to its nature as accessible, entrapping, indecisive, constricted, precipitous, and distant....These are the principles relating to six different types of ground. It is the highest responsibility of the general to inquire into them with the utmost care." (p. 124-5)

6.2 "Now when troops flee, are insubordinate, distressed, collapse in disorder or are routed, it is the fault of the general. None of these disasters can be attributed to natural causes....When any of these six conditions prevails the army is on the road to defeat. It is the highest responsibility of the general to examine them carefully." (p. 125-7)

7.1 "War is a matter of vital importance to the State....Therefore, appraise it in terms of the five fundamental factors (see 5.1 above) and make comparisons of the seven elements....appraising them with the utmost care; If you say

I will be able to forecast which side will be victorious and which defeated." (p. 63-66)

9.1 The nine variables:

9.2 Nine varieties of ground: "In respect to the employment of troops, ground may be classified as dispersive, frontier, key, communicating, focal, serious, difficult, encircled, and death.

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