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1. 子路曰:「衛君待子而為政,子將奚先?」

2. 子曰:「必也正名乎!」

3. 子路曰:「有是哉,子之迂也!奚其正?」

4. 子曰:「野哉,由也!君子於其所不知,蓋闕如也。

5. 名不正,則言不順;言不順,則事不成;

6. 事不成,則禮樂不興;禮樂不興,則刑罰不中;刑罰不中,則民無所措手足。

7. 故君子名之必可言也,言之必可行也。君子於其言,無所茍而已矣!」


1. Tsze-lu said, 'The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?'

2. The Master replied, 'What is necessary is to rectify names.'

3. 'So, indeed!' said Tsze-lu. 'You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?'

4. The Master said, 'How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.

5. 'If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

6. 'When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music will not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.

7. 'Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires, is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.'

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IATHPublished by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia