离坚白 – Chinese philosophy and culture

lí jiānbái 离坚白

Separate Hardness from Whiteness

分离一个事物所具有的坚和白的属性。“离坚白”是公孙龙子提出的一个命题。一块坚硬的白石,当眼睛看它时,只能看到石之白,看不到石之坚;当手触摸它时,只能摸到石之坚,摸不到石之白。坚与白是相互分离的,不能同时出现在石头上,因此不能将坚硬的白石称为“坚白石”。公孙龙子借由“坚白石”的例子,表达了对于事物属性的认识。事物的各种属性是相互独立的,不能同时关联在同一个事物中。

The separation of an object’s hardness from its whiteness is a proposition advanced by Gongsunlongzi. Looking at a hard and white stone, one can only see its whiteness but not its hardness; while touching the stone with one’s hand, one can only feel its hardness but not that it is white. Hardness and whiteness are separate. They do not manifest themselves at the same time: thus, a white stone that is hard cannot be called a hard and white stone. Gongsunlongzi used this example to express his understanding of the properties of things. These properties are independent of each other and cannot simultaneously be joined in the same thing.

引例 Citation:

◎视不得其所坚,而得其所白者,无坚也;拊不得其所白,而得其所坚者,无白也。(《公孙龙子·坚白论》)

(眼睛看不到石之坚,只能看到石之白,因此石是“无坚”的;手触摸不到石之白,只能触摸到石之坚,因此石是“无白”的。)

Looking at it, one cannot see the hardness of the stone but only the whiteness, so it has no hardness. Touching it, one cannot feel the whiteness but only the hardness, so it has no whiteness. (Gongsunlongzi)

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