自宋儒陳淳（北溪，1159～1223）撰《北溪字義》後，「字 義」已然跳脫蒙學或訓詁的形式，轉而成為理學家用以闡述理學 核心概念的思想利器。然而，清儒戴震（東原，1724～1777）以 其考據學長才，師彼之矛攻彼之盾。他藉《孟子字義疏證》重探 理學關鍵字義，直指朱子理學之非。清末民初的劉師培（申叔， 1884～1919），則在戴震百年之後，成為這波字義辨正浪潮的殿 軍。由於《北溪字義》與《孟子字義疏證》均已有專文探討。本 文旨在以「人性觀」為主軸，試探《理學字義通釋》是如何透過 字義澄清的研究方式，再次承繼戴震對朱子理學的批判。全文共 分三項環節展開：首先，在「從血氣心知以言『性』」中，闡明 劉師培與陳淳等理學家泛論人性的根本區別。其次，在「心與性、 情、意、志、欲」的關聯中，探討劉師培如何透過層層理清與心性相關的字義，指出前儒「誤情為性」之非。最後，在「氣質之 性的新詮」中，本文則探討劉師培如何在承繼戴震以血氣心知而 言人性的觀點上，卻主張「性之體本無善無惡」，而與戴震所秉 持的孟子性善論分道揚鑣。
After Chen Chun (Pei Hsi, 1159-1223), a Confucian in the Song dynasty, wrote Pei-Hsi Meanings of Words and Terms, the term “literal meaning” broke through elementary education or explanatory notes in ancient books and became the thinking measure for Neo Confucianism scholars to elaborate the core concepts of Neo Confucianism. However, Tai Chen (Tung Yuang, 1724-1777), a Confucian in the Qing dynasty, pinpointed the contradiction through his specialty of textual criticism. Using Mencius： Explorations in Words and Meaning, he reviewed critical literal meanings of Neo Confucianism and stated the errors of Neo-Confucianism of Chu Xi. Liu Shipei (Shen Shu, 1884-1919) led the movement of correction of literal meaning in late Qing period and early Republic of China, after Tai Chen passed away. Pei-Hsi Meanings of Words and Terms and Mencius： Explorations in Words and Meaning were explored by specific articles. Thus, this study aimed to focus on “beliefs of human nature” and attempted to find how Interpretation of Literal Meaning of Neo-Confucianism succeeds the criticism of Tai Chen on the Neo Confucianism of Chu Xi through the research method of clarifying literal meanings. This study consisted of three parts. First, in the “study of ‘nature’ by blood and mind”, it elaborated the essential differences in the study of human nature by Neo-Confucianism scholars such as Liu Shipei and Chen Chun. Second, in the association among “mind and nature, affection, will, ambition and desire”, it attempted to find how Liu Shipei pinpointed the errors of previous Confucian scholars who “mistook affection for nature” by clarifying literal meanings related to nature. Finally, in the “interpretation of nature of temperament”, this study elaborated how Liu Shipei, based on the perspective of exploring human nature by the blood and mind of Tai Chen, proposed “nature without goodness and evilness”, which was differentiated from the theory of the goodness of human nature of Mencius supported by Tai Chen.