The examination of names and words constitutes an important aspect of the philosophy of Zhuangzi. With the debate over the relationship between name and reality as its background, this examination not only involves the connection between form and meaning, but also targets at the connection between concepts and objects. The debate over the relationship between name and reality correlates with the discussion of the connection between words and meanings or ideas. For Zhuangzi, the function of names and words is first and foremost embodied as the classification and distinction of being, while the Dao, as the universal principle of being, is characterized by equality and throughness. This leads to an inherent disparity and tension between names, words and the Dao. Zhuangzi’s thinking and argument concern the connections between name and reality, words and ideas, and the Dao and words. This displays multiple theoretical perspectives and the complexity of its thought.
Luo Congyan put forward the idea that benevolence is the substance while righteousness is its function, which placed the intrinsic value of human beings on a more fundamental position and affirmed the unity of benevolent principle and universal norms from the perspective of the relationship between substance and function. The unity of benevolence and righteousness involves the connection between value and norms, and the latter relate to the relationship between morality and law in the broader sense. On the basis of the idea of using both benevolence and righteousness, Luo Congyan examined the relationship between morality and law. Corresponding to the emphasis on the role of both law and political power, Luo Congyan concerned himself with how to establish rational interpersonal relationships in various ways. Furthermore, Luo Congyan emphasized the significance of behavior in everyday life, while he affirmed that the universal principle should be followed. In this way, he developed the earlier Confucian thought.