ETHICS-1-Module-5-study-guide-Aug-2018 Asian Ethical Frameworks and Religious Conceptions.pdf

Principle of measuring square or golden rule zhong

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(Principle of Measuring Square or Golden Rule) Zhong and Shu are the two aspects of the measuring square for action. These two are referred to by Kong Zi as the summary of his teachings: The Master said, “Master Zeng! All that I teach can be strung together on a single thread.” “Yes, sir.” Master Zeng responded. After the Master left, the disciples asked, “What did he mean by that?” Master Zeng said, “All that the Master teaches amounts to nothing more than dutifulness ( zhong ) tempered by understanding ( shu) .” (Kong Zi Bk. 4 Pt. 15) Zhong represents the positive aspect of the practice of Ren , namely, doing unto others what you want others do unto you: “If you really care for them, can you then fail to put them to work? If you are really dutiful to him, can you then fail to instruct him?” (Kong Zi Bk. 14 Pt. 7) Shu represents the prohibitive aspect of the practice of Ren : “Do not impose upon others what you yourself do not desire.” (Kong Zi Bk. 15 Pt. 24) Page of 20 31
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ETHICS 1 - Ethics and Moral Reasoning in Everyday Life The twin aspects of the Golden Rule known as the principle of the measuring square is the human guide to action. Thus, Confucianism contains the highest articulation of an anthropocentric ethics where goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, or humaneness is within the immediate reach of the human individual. The moral obligation does not come from some transcendent beyond. Instead, one must look within oneself to know what one must do. As one of the sayings of Kong Zi asserts: “Is Goodness really so far away? If I simply desire Goodness, I will find that it is already here.” (Kong Zi Bk. 7 Pt. 30) ————————————————————————————————————— Activity 8 Reflect on the questions below and write down your thoughts. You may be required to present them in class. 1. Is the principle of Zhong and Shu selfish and egocentric? Why or why not? 2. Do you think that it is necessary to determine the nature of human moral character (i.e. good, evil, both good and evil, neither good nor evil) in the study of ethics? Why or why not? ————————————————————————————————————— Human Moral Character as Good or Evil In deciphering the sayings of Kong Zi, the question of whether Kong Zi problematized the question of the nature of human beings’ moral character has been posed. The Confucian scholars Meng Zi and Xun Zi gave different responses. For Meng Zi, human moral character is good. We have in us seeds of goodness that only need to be cultivated. Meng Zi stresses that the sense of compassion ( Ren ), sense of right and wrong ( Yi ), sense of good and evil ( Li ), and sense of truth and falsity ( Zhi ) are found in us at birth. For him, “The feeling of commiseration belongs to all men; so does that of shame and dislike; and that of reverence and respect; and that of approving and disapproving.” (Meng Zi Bk. VI Pt. 1 Ch. 6.7) We are morally ‘perfectable’ because we already have the seeds of goodness in us. The full blossoming of these seeds is the goal of moral cultivation. When one
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  • Spring '10
  • Johnson
  • Buddhism, Chinese philosophy, Dao De Jing, Bhagavad Gita Ch

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