别名 – Chinese philosophy and culture

bié míng 别名

Distinct Name

用以特指某类或某一个事物的名称。“别名”是荀子(前313?—前238)所使用的一种名称类别,与“共名”相对。名用以指称实。同一类别之中具有特殊属性的事物类别,可以用一个“别名”来加以指称。一个“别名”所指称的事物类别中若仍然具有特殊的事物类别,可以用更高层级的“别名”来加以指称。如此类推,直至不能划分出更细致的事物类别。指称一个事物大类的“别名”称为“大别名”。

A distinct name is used for a particular category or a certain object. It is used by Xunzi (313?-238 BC) in contrast with “general name.” A name should denote the nature of a thing. Things in the same category that have unique features can be referred to by “distinct names.” Subsets within that category with further characteristics of their own can in turn have a higher-level “distinct name.” A distinct name with the broadest reference is called “broad distinct name.”

引例 Citation:

◎有时而欲偏(biàn)举之,故谓之鸟兽。鸟兽也者,大别名也。推而别之,别则有别,至于无别然后止。(《荀子·正名》)

(有时想要部分地指称某类事物,就称之为“鸟兽”。“鸟兽”就是最大的“别名”。推演而寻求“别名”,“别名”之内还有更高层级的“别名”,一直到无法再推出更高层级的“别名”为止。)

Sometimes we wish to speak of them in part, and so we refer to them as “birds and beasts.” “Birds and beasts” in this case is a broad distinct name. We can break it down to make ever more distinctions, drawing finer distinctions within fine distinctions until no more distinctions can be made. (Xunzi)

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