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What does the rectification of names mean to Confucians?  

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Confucianism is concerned with stability in society, as well as proper respect given to every individual. To that end, they believe one of the ways in which to properly respect someone is to give and call them the proper name. This applies to both names and titles, as a way of ensuring everyone is aware of their place in society and is able to give each other necessary respect and deference.

The rectification of names is the proper term for the Confucian practice of assigning appropriate names and titles to individuals. This means calling parents and children by their respective roles and titling teachers and officials with proper titles so that they receive proper respect. Because this is such a priority in Confucianism, rectification of names is one of the main ways they ensure respect is given.

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To rectify names means to make them match up with reality. To Confucians, social disorder is a result of things being called by improper names that do not represent them. This disconnect causes...

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