公私 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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gōngsī 公私

Public and Private

两种相对的生活领域或行事原则。“公”与“私”大体上包含着两个层面的含义:其一,就生活领域而言,“私”指个人的或个人所属群体之内的生活领域,“公”则是在“私”的界限之外的公共领域。不同生活领域之中存在着不同的秩序原则,彼此之间往往存在冲突。其二,在行事原则的意义上,“私”是以谋求个人或个人所属群体的利益为根本目标的,“公”则是对自私自利原则的超越,体现着天下的公义。

These refer to two different spheres of life and sets of principles for doing things. As far as the spheres of life is concerned, being “private” refers to the life of an individual or group of individuals. Whereas being “public” refers to the public realm beyond these narrow concerns. There are different principles which govern the different spheres of life, and conflict may arise between the two. When it comes to the principles for doing things, it is in the nature of being “private” to pursue the interest of specific individuals or a particular group of individuals, while being “public” means going beyond the selfish or egoistic for the interest of the wider public.

引例 Citations:

◎公私之分明,则小人不疾贤,而不肖者不妒功。故尧舜之位天下也,非私天下之利也,为天下位天下也,论贤举能而传焉,非疏父子亲越人也,明于治乱之道也。(《商君书·修权》)

(公私的界限分明,则小人不嫉妒贤者,不贤良之人不嫉妒有功业者。因此,尧舜在位统治天下,不是营私以取天下之利,而是为了天下之人而治理天下,选举贤能之人而传承天子之位,并不是疏离自己的儿子去亲近毫不相干的人,而是懂得治乱的道理。)

With clear distinction between public and private spheres, a narrow-minded man does not envy one of virtue, and a mean person has no reason to be jealous of a man of great achievement. Thus Yao and Shun as emperors did not take advantage of their positions to seek personal gain but chose to govern for the benefit of the public. Selecting a man of virtue as successor to the throne did not indicate particular estrangement of father from son, in favor of a person of no blood relations, but instead showed wisdom regarding the ways of good governance. (The Book of Lord Shang)

◎己者,人欲之私也;礼者,天理之公也。(朱熹《论语或问》)

(自身所求,体现着人的欲望的自私;礼的要求,体现着天理的公正。)

What a person seeks for his own epitomizes selfish desire; what rite requires represents the justice of heavenly principles. (Zhu Xi: Questions and Answers on The Analects)

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