循名责实 – Chinese philosophy and culture

xúnmínɡ-zéshí 循名责实

Hold Actualities According to Its Name

依据名而衡量其所指之实。“循名责实”是古人治理国家的重要手段。在现实的人伦关系中,每一个特定的角色或身份都有其名,名也即规定了这一角色或身份应该具有的性质或职责。对使用或拥有某一名分的人,需要依据其名分考核、要求其实际的言行与名所规定的性质或职责相符。

An actual object should be assessed according to the name referring to it. Holding actualities according to its name was an important means for ancient Chinese to govern the state. In actual human relations concerning ethics and morality, every specific role or status had its name, which determined the character or responsibilities of that status. People with certain status had to be assessed on the basis of their status, and it was required that their actual words and actions corresponded to the character and responsibilities determined by the name of their status.

引例 Citations:

◎术者,因任而授官,循名而责实,操杀生之柄,课群臣之能者也。(《韩非子·定法》)

(所谓术,是根据个人的能力而授予官职,依照官职名分而要求其履行相应的职责,掌握生杀大权,考量群臣中能力出众的人。)

The way of governance is to bestow office according to responsibilities, who was required to carry out duties as was required by the name (i.e. the office), to exercise power over life and death, and examine and weigh officials with outstanding capabilities. (Hanfeizi)

◎循名责实,实之极也;按实定名,名之极也。(《邓析子·转辞》)

(依据名而衡量其所指之实,是要求实的标准;依据实在的内容去确定事物的名号,是要求名的标准。)

To assess the actual thing or substance according to its name means to demand an actual standard. To determine the name of a thing or substance according to actualities is the standard for naming the name. (Dengxizi)

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