The Mencius-Xunzi Debate in Early Confucian Ethnics Essay
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Confucianism is regarded as one of the primary religions that have profoundly influenced Chinese beliefs and ideologies. While Kongzi, or Confucius, is the founder of Confucianism, he is not the only philosopher who has contributed to such a significant impact on China. Similarly, the Analects of Confucius is not the single text that represents Confucianism. In fact, during different time periods throughout the history, there are a number of eminent representatives of Confucian thoughts, such as Mengzi and Xunzi. Because Confucianism aims at eliminating chaos and maintaining order in a harmonious society , they all agree that the guidance and education of virtuous Confucian pioneers are of extreme importance to achieve this…show more content…
Rather, Mengzi regards men as born with a potential property, which could lead to good moral attributes like ren, yi, li, and zhi. On the contrary, Xunzi argues that men are born with an instinct called xing, which could result in immoral attributes like affection and desire . Nevertheless, the fact that men are born with a property leading to goodness does not contradict the fact that men are born with an instinct leading to badness.
As a result, neither of Mengzi and Xunzi has an absolute definition of human nature, since they only consider part of human nature they prefer. An interesting parable of this point would be that half glass of water is seen as half-full by Mengzi, whereas half-empty by Xunzi . Sadly, no one is really sure which explanation would be the absolutely correct one, since there does not tend to be an absolute truth about this type of ambiguous problem. Hence, one cannot claim that Mengzi and Xunzi completely disagree with each other solely by the fact that they consider human nature from different points of view. In addition to the intrinsic ambiguity of human nature, Mengzi and Xunzi have utterly distinct emphasis on their theory about human nature. As long as part of human nature is overly stressed by each of them, they become more and more biased with respect to their overall definition of human nature. According to