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Unformatted text preview: Lee Kun Ho Lee Professor Heyden EALC 110: Kirk Wed:11-12 A.M. March 11, 2010 Mencius and Xunzi During the famous warring states in Chinese history two of “junzis” from Confucius, developed their ideas about building up moral conduct: Mencius and Xunzi. Their philosophical ideas derived from the famous Confucius work. Confucian teachings consisted in analects, conversations with others and actions; these essentially taught ideas about one reforming one’s character. Confucius quickly became one of the most influential figures in East Asia and the philosophical work spread widely over to Western world. The main basis and foundation for Confucius teaching was humanism because he wanted people to rely on themselves to solve their own problems, instead of government involvement. Also, he wanted his teachings to be learned for everyone, not just the aristocrats, to form disciples called “junzi.” Although he believed by institution role was important, he believed that people should not rely on it too much. Mencius and Xunzi took the basic principles of the teaching Menicus and Xunzi and further extrapolated the work. The two works specifically focused on details of human nature and how government and education can influence to improve moral character. Although Mencius and Xunzi differed on ideas of the beginning of human nature, they both claimed that moral character of people can be improved by external influences, including the role of government and education. Mencius began his work by establishing human nature with optimism; he claims that all humans are innately good and born with four virtues. Each virtue was explained in the work, “the mind of pity and commiseration is humaneness; the mind of shame and dislike is rightness; the mind of reverence and respect is decorum; and the mind that that knows right and wrong is Lee wisdom” (De Bary 130) Mencius further supported his argument of all humans being innately good by an anecdote that was simple yet significant The anecdote said when a man saw a baby falling into a well, his instinct was to stop and save the child from death. He did not do this for any material advantage or any appreciations. There was no logical or emotional reason but as an instinctive reason as a human being, just as Mencius stated: …all human beings have a mind that commiserate with others…that he would react accordingly is not because he would use the opportunity to ingratiate himself with the child’s parents…From this it may be seen that one who lacks a mind that feels pity and compassion would not be human…(129) Humans also had conscience to naturally distinct good acts from evil ones from the beginning of birth. This conscience was built up from the sense of shame that humans dislike and feel uncomfortable when doing things wrong....
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