知行 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zhīxínɡ 知行

Knowledge and Application

“知”指对人伦日用之道的认知和体察,“行”指践行人伦日用之道。中国古代所讨论的“知行”,并不是一般意义上的对外物的认知以及利用和改造外物的行为,而是针对人伦日用之道的体认与践行。人通过目见耳闻或心思感悟等不同方式实现“知”。对于“知”“行”的难易,或认为知难行易,或认为知易行难,或认为知难行亦难。而在“知”“行”关系上,有人主张知行合一,也有人认为知行有别。这些对“知行”的理解决定了不同的道德养成及人伦教化方式。

“Knowledge” refers to awareness and examination of the principles underlying human relations in everyday life, and “application” refers to the implementation of these principles in everyday life. “Knowledge and application,” used in ancient China, were not in the general sense of having knowledge of external objects, or taking action to utilize and transform external things. Rather, they were recognition and application of principles underlying human relations in everyday life. One acquires “knowledge” in different ways: through visual perception, hearing, or mental reflection and insight. Some people think that “knowledge” is difficult and that “application” is easy. Some think that “knowledge” is easy and that “application” is difficult. Some think that “knowledge” and “application” are equally difficult. As for the relationship between “knowledge” and “application”, some maintain that knowledge and application are united as one. Others think that knowledge and application are separate. These varied understanding of “knowledge and application” determine different ways of fostering virtue and of instruction concerning human relations.

引例 Citations:

◎非知之实难,将在行之。(《左传·昭公十年》)

(并不是难在“知”,而是难在“行”。)

To know is not the hard part; to apply is. (Zuo’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)

◎不闻不若闻之,闻之不若见之,见之不若知之,知之不若行之,学至于行之而止矣。(《荀子·儒效》)

(不听闻不如听闻,听闻不如亲眼见到,见到不如体认,体认不如践行,学问至于践行就达到极致了。)

Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice. Learning reaches the ultimate stage when it is being applied. (Xunzi)

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