Mencius and Xunzi Both These Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Mencius thought that virtue was a matter to be developed while Xunzi felt that what was required was not development, but reshaping. The first is like a sprout coming out in a tree whereas the second is like a piece of wood being shaped into an object required by humans. (Chinese Philosophy)

Apart from the argument as to whether goodness comes to man from birth or the state, man should practice goodness according to both the philosophers. In those days, living in a state was for the benefit of the state, and this philosophy certainly benefited the state. The general acceptance among them was also that men could be good if they chose to and it did not matter from where this came - birth or inclination. The difference was in thoughts as to where this morality originated from - Mencius believed that it came from the heart and not through enforcement by the state. According to his beliefs, the inherent quality of any child is to be good and men have only got to carry that forward. On the other hand, Xunzi felt that the state has to control behavior of men and decide what principles needed to be enforced within the state. These are needed for the development and survival of the state, and certainly this viewpoint is more practical. His point can be put as saying that humans have to wait for a teacher before becoming correct in terms of behavior as also for observation of the principles of rituals. This is because of the nature of men being essentially evil. (Xunzi (Hsun Tzu) (310-220 BCE?))

This teacher will be thus a representative of the state, and his teachings are in common interest. The good instincts highlighted by Xunzi are of courtesy in relationships and the ability of controlling one's own desires and instincts. This has to be pushed ahead by the state, as these are not natural. The knowledge of the rituals of behavior will lead to orderly behavior by men. When men do not understand needed principles, the behavior of individuals will continue to be wild and irresponsible. This happens as he feels that humans are essentially evil, unlike Mencius. At the same time, this explanation is quite close to generative anthropology. It is clear that desire is the main reason for evil nature in men. This is also the view of Xunzi, and when this desire becomes unlimited, and then the state will suffer. This will also act against morality. In the present days, such a person will end up being a criminal. (Plutschow, Xunzi and the Ancient Chinese Philosophical Debate on Human Nature)

At the same time, he believes that the lives of people should be on the basis of natural harmonies and regularities, and this is quite different from both Mencius and neo-Confucians. This behavior is also not against the workings of Heaven, and here should not be efforts to try that. When efforts like that are made, it upsets the balance of the triad and that will lead to trouble. This view can be seen as agreeing with the views of Confucius who agnostic about spirituality and concentrated on humans concentrating their efforts on human matters. (Xunzi and the Confucian answer to Titanism) Thus one can see agreements in the philosophy of the three as also disagreements.


Adler, Joseph a. Chinese Religious Traditions. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2002. Chapter 3. Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005

Chinese Philosophy. Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005

Gier, Nicholas F. Xunzi and the Confucian answer to Titanism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy. Vol: 22:2 (1995.06) pp. 129-151. Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005

Mencius (c. 372-289 BCE). Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005

Plutschow, Herbert. Xunzi and the Ancient Chinese Philosophical Debate on Human Nature. Anthropoetics. Vol: 8; No. 1; Spring / Summer 2002. Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005

Xunzi (Hsun Tzu) (310-220 BCE?). Retrieved at Accessed on 10 June, 2005[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Mencius And Xunzi Both These" (2005, June 12) Retrieved October 21, 2016, from

"Mencius And Xunzi Both These" 12 June 2005. Web.21 October. 2016. <>

"Mencius And Xunzi Both These", 12 June 2005, Accessed.21 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Mencius View That Human Nature

    Mencius saw Tian as the source of morality and social sanction (if the king was good, Heaven enabled him to rule). Hsun Tzu, on the other hand, perceived heaven as dispassionate and unresponsive at best to human predicament and existence, He therefore advocated that man should not look to Tian for assistance or attempt to placate or please tian, but rather endeavor to craft his own fate (Watson, 2003).

  • Human Nature Has Been a

    He exemplifies by saying that anyone witnessing a child about to fall in a well would immediately turn to rescue the child without seeking any advantages in doing so. But while this position has been argued on the grounds that "such an example is not intended to prove that all men will actually take some action in such circumstances" (Allinson apud Chan 1996), Chan has defended Mencius by emphasizing

  • Human Nature

    Human Nature Throughout history intelligent human beings have tried to better understand exactly what it is that makes people human. Some of the questions that are most frequently asked has to do with a supposed universal human nature, a basic idea which somehow is a part of all people regardless of culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, or whatever other divisive characterization that can be thought of. Human nature refers to the ability

  • Traditional Chinese Thoughts Human Nature

    In contrast Mozi argued that people should always care for others equally. Linking the thoughts of different philosophers The ancient Chinese sacrificial practice was very common whereby the historical dynasties had carried out human sacrifices quite extensively. However there was the disappearance of this ritual during the periods of spring and autumn as well as the warring periods. Though it was practiced privately this ritual of sacrificing humans was replaced at

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved