名实 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mínɡshí 名实

Name and Substance

“实”指实存的事物,“名”指赋予事物的名号、称谓。“名”建立在“实”的基础之上,不能脱离对“实”的认识。“名”体现着人们对事物的本质及其相互关系的理解和设计。人们通过命名的方式,将万事万物纳入到一定的秩序之中。事物依据其被赋予的名号、称谓,在有秩序的整体中确立自己的地位和意义。

Shi (实) refers to an existing object, while ming (名) refers to a name, a title or an appellation given to an object. A name is given on the basis of substance, and it cannot be separated from the knowledge of the substance. Names give expression to people’s understanding about the essence of objects and their interrelations, and the way in which they handle such interrelations. By giving names, people integrate all things and all objects into a certain order. The position and significance of an object in the whole system are determined on the basis of the name, title or the appellation given to it.

引例 Citations:

◎所以谓,名也。所谓,实也。(《墨子·经说上》)

(对实物的称谓就是“名”,所指称的对象就是“实”。)

That by which an object is called is the name. That which a name refers to is a substance. (Mozi)

◎物固有形,形固有名,此言不得过实,实不得延名。(《管子·心术上》)

(事物固有其形态,形态固有其名称,因此称说的名不能超过实,实不能延伸于名称所指之外。)

An object has a shape, and a shape has a name. The name must not go beyond the substance, and the substance must not extend beyond its name. (Guanzi)

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