性 – Chinese philosophy and culture

xìng 性

Xing (Nature)

古人所讨论的“性”,主要指“人性”。“性”的概念包含两个要点:其一,是事物天生所具有的属性,非后天人为;其二,是某类事物普遍具有的属性,非某些个体所特有。据此而言,“人性”观念也有两种不同的含义:其一,指人天生所具有的普遍属性,包括身体上的各种生命特征及欲望、知觉等;其二,指人天生所具有的人之所以为人的本质属性,亦即人区别于禽兽的道德本性。历代学者对人性善恶的问题有着许多不同的看法,或性善,或性恶,或性无善恶,或性有善有不善,或有性善有性不善。

Xing (性) mainly referred to human nature in ancient times. The concept of xing has two essential points. First, it refers to the inherent nature of all things, not as a result of nurture. Second, it refers to the common nature of certain kind of things, not the nature of individual things of that kind. Similarly, human nature, too, has two meanings. First, it refers to inherent attributes all people share, including physical features, desires, and consciousness. Second, it is the essential and distinct attribute that distinguishes people from birds and beasts, in other words, human’s moral nature. Scholars throughout history held varied views over the question whether human nature was good or evil. Some believed it was good. Some thought it was evil. Some held that it was neither good nor evil. Some held that human nature could be both good and evil in the same person. Some thought that human nature was good in some people, but evil in others.

引例 Citations:

◎食、色,性也。(《孟子·告子上》)

(对饮食和美色的追求是人的本性。)

To love food and good looks is but human nature. (Mencius)

◎性即理也。(《二程遗书》卷二十二上)

(性就是理。)

Human nature is in line with the principles of heaven. (Writings of the Cheng Brothers)

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