Note that 3 of the 5 relations involve family; the family is the basic unit of society.
Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy
Second Sense of li: principle of social order; ritual; ordering of life; conforming to the norms of jen the limits and authenticity of li. Every action affects someone else-- there are limits to individuality. Confucius sought to order an entire way of life. You shouldn't be left to improvise your responses because you are at a loss as to how to behave. Whitehead's quotation of a Cambridge vicar: "For well-conducted people, life presents no problems.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
Yi yee ; righteousness; the moral disposition to do good also a necessary condition for jen or for the superior man. Yi connotes a moral sense : the ability to recognize what is right and good; the ability to feel, under the circumstances what is the right thing to do. Not chih , moral wisdom per se, but intuition.
Most of us live under the sway of different kinds of "I's. In Freudian terms, almost like the super-ego. The impersonal ego is the assimilated or appropriated values of our culture -- the Confucian true self. Some actions ought to be performed for the sole reason that they are right--regardless of what they produce; not for the sake of something else. The value in the act is the rightness of the action regardless of the intention or the consequences of the act.
Hence, yi is a different way than either stoicism intention with soft determinism or utilitarianism consequences with free will. Confucianism is similar to Kant's ethics of duty: the action is done as a good-in-itself, not as a means to an end. Acting from yi is quite close to practicing jen. Compare the two situations: a.
A person does all actions for the sake of yi because they are the right thing to do i. This example is the way we learn; it is not an example of yi. A person does all actions for the sake of jen because respect for humanity implies the right human way to act i. This example is practiced until it becomes second-nature, then it is right. Hsiao showe : filial piety; reverence 1.
Parents are revered because they are the source of your life. They have sacrificed much for you. One should do well and make the family name known and respected: bring honor to your family. Consider someone you respect and admire who saves your life or someone who has sacrificed his life for you--as, indeed, your parents did. Hence, the reverence. Hsiao implies that you give your parents not only physical care but also emotional and spiritual richness. When the parents die, their unfulfilled aims and purposes should be the purposes of the children. What do you do if your values are different from your parents?
The beginnings of jen are found in hsiao family life. Once the reverence and respect is understood for parent, hsiao can be extended by generalization to family, friends, society, and mankind. Respect for the sake of reverence affects who you are.
Chih chee : moral wisdom; the source of this virtue is knowledge of right and wrong. Chih is added to Confucianism by Mencius muhn shoos who believed that people are basically born good. Since we draw the difference between right and wrong from our own mind, these ideas are innate. Man is a moral animal for Mencius. Man has the potential to be good for Confucius. Indeed chapters twenty-eight to thirty of the Xunzi , which some have argued were not the work of Xunzi but compilations by his disciples, look like an alternative, and considerably briefer, version of the Analects.
Topics In Confucian Thought (Topics In Philosophy)
Confucius and his followers also inspired considerable criticism from other thinkers. The anecdote quoted earlier from the Mozi is an example. The authors of the Zhuangzi took particular delight in parodying Confucius and the teachings conventionally associated with him. But Confucius' reputation was so great that even the Zhuangzi appropriates him to give voice to Daoist teachings.
Confucius' teachings and his conversations and exchanges with his disciples are recorded in the Lunyu or Analects , a collection that probably achieved something like its present form around the second century BCE. We can do little or nothing to alter our fated span of existence but we determine what we accomplish and what we are remembered for. Confucius represented his teachings as lessons transmitted from antiquity. Confucius pointed especially to the precedents established during the height of the royal Zhou roughly the first half of the first millennium BCE.
Such justifications for one's ideas may have already been conventional in Confucius' day.
Confucius (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Certainly his claim that there were antique precedents for his ideology had a tremendous influence on subsequent thinkers many of whom imitated these gestures. But we should not regard the contents of the Analects as consisting of old ideas. Much of what Confucius taught appears to have been original to him and to have represented a radical departure from the ideas and practices of his day. Confucius also claimed that he enjoyed a special and privileged relationship with Heaven and that, by the age of fifty, he had come to understand what Heaven had mandated for him and for mankind.
Lunyu 2. Confucius was also careful to instruct his followers that they should never neglect the offerings due Heaven. Lunyu 3. Rather they show that Confucius revered and respected the spirits, thought that they should be worshipped with utmost sincerity, and taught that serving the spirits was a far more difficult and complicated matter than serving mere mortals.
This meant being sure to avoid artful speech or an ingratiating manner that would create a false impression and lead to self-aggrandizement. Lunyu 1. He regards devotion to parents and older siblings as the most basic form of promoting the interests of others before one's own.
Central to all ethical teachings found in the Analects of Confucius is the notion that the social arena in which the tools for creating and maintaining harmonious relations are fashioned and employed is the extended family. Among the various ways in which social divisions could have been drawn, the most important were the vertical lines that bound multigenerational lineages.
- The Road Ahead: Exploring the plans and economic forces shaping Greeley, Colorado.
- Amateur Soldiers, Global Wars: Insurgency and Modern Conflict (Praeger Security International).
- Why Is Confucius Still Relevant Today? His Sound Bites Hold Up!
And the most fundamental lessons to be learned by individuals within a lineage were what role their generational position had imposed on them and what obligations toward those senior or junior to them were associated with those roles. In the world of the Analects , the dynamics of social exchange and obligation primarily involved movement up and down along familial roles that were defined in terms of how they related to others within the same lineage.
It was also necessary that one play roles within other social constructs—neighborhood, community, political bureaucracy, guild, school of thought—that brought one into contact with a larger network of acquaintances and created ethical issues that went beyond those that impacted one's family. But the extended family was at the center of these other hierarchies and could be regarded as a microcosm of their workings.
- The Enchanted Horse: The Enchanted Horse to the Rescue?
- The Daodejing.
- TRAINPLAN - Stressmanagement (German Edition).
- The Principles of Disruptive Design?
- New Dimensions of Confucian and Neo-Confucian Philosophy;
One who behaved morally in all possible parallel structures extending outward from the family probably approximated Confucius's conception of ren. The Mohists shared with Confucius and his followers the goal of bringing about effective governance and a stable society, but they constructed their ethical system, not on the basis of social roles, but rather on the self or, to be more precise, the physical self that has cravings, needs, and ambitions.
For the Mohists, the individual's love for his physical self is the basis on which all moral systems had to be built. The Confucian emphasis on social role rather than on the self seems to involve, in comparison to the Mohist position, an exaggerated emphasis on social status and position and an excessive form of self-centeredness. While the Mohist love of self is also of course a form of self-interest, what distinguishes it from the Confucian position is that the Mohists regard self-love as a necessary means to an end, not the end in itself, which the Confucian pride of position and place appears to be.
The Mohist program called for a process by which self-love was replaced by, or transformed into, impartial love—the unselfish and altruistic concern for others that would, in their reckoning, lead to an improved world untroubled by wars between states, conflict in communities, and strife within families. To adopt impartial love would be to ignore the barriers that privilege the self, one's family, and one's state and that separate them from other individuals, families, and states. In this argument, self-love is a fact that informs the cultivation of concern for those within one's own silo; it is also the basis for interacting laterally with those to whom one is not related, a large cohort that is not adequately taken into account in the Confucian scheme of ethical obligation.