There is this passage from the Doctrine of the Mean:

""Hence the sovereign may not neglect the cultivation of his own character. Wishing to cultivate his character, he may not neglect to serve his parents. In order to serve his parents, he may not neglect to acquire knowledge of men. In order to know men, he may not dispense with a knowledge of Heaven" (link)

Below is a passage refering to this text:


I am not sure how to understand this phrase: "正相發". Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


well, the text in question is korean related.


正相發 roughly means: just rightfully (正 -> 正好) mutually (相 -> 互相) explicate (發 -> 闡發) [each other]

edited, i would short cut the verse into:

“不可以不知人不知天。此所謂” vs “仁者人也之

so, the notion of homo sapiens (人), who understand themselves (知人 ) and the heaven (知天),

and the notion of homo sapiens (人) who is benevolent (仁);

[these two notions are] just rightfully, mutually explicate [each other] (正相發)

btw, interpret “人” as “men” is, not politically correct nowadays 😸

  • So would you say that the whole sentence could be roughly translated as: "Here, those who are called “men” [此所謂人], and men who are benevolent, explicate each other" (i.e. the word "men" refers to men who are benevolent)?
    – McCzajnik
    Dec 12, 2021 at 18:47
  • @McCzajnik, i edited the answer, reread, please 😺 Dec 13, 2021 at 1:47
  • Thanks. The word "men" came from James Legge's translation of the doctrine of te mean - otherwise I would not use it :)
    – McCzajnik
    Dec 13, 2021 at 16:37

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