Not all think alike - Philosophers of China

Essay by jcflyerB, May 2004

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Confucius (c.551-c.479 BC) was one of the greatest philosophers known in the history of china. He has influenced the past 2000 years of Chinese History and continues to do so today. Confucianism has been adopted by many native Chinese people as it seems to be the most appropriate way to live. It is open to religion, rituals, knowledge, laws and preserves many good traits such as goodness, family priority, and respect. Confucius's ideas are recorded in a script called the Analects. As time passed, there were more important philosophers that appeared in the lifetime of China, Mencius, Xunzi, Daoists, Mozi, Shang Yang and Han Feizi; just like the ice age changed the physical structure of the western continents of the world, these philosophers molded the cultural structure of China in the Far East in the past 2000 years.

As a student of Confucius, Mencius (c.370-c.300 BC) followed the path of his teacher.

Mencius believed in the Mandate of Heaven and preached it to rulers as he traveled across the land. Confucius believed that rituals and humanity make people good, and that younger people must respect their elders for it is the right thing to do. Unlike Confucius, Mencius believed that all of humankind was good by nature, and that it was up to individual people to show the goodness if they chose to do it. Religion was not his main concern; he wanted to show the rulers that since they are chosen by heaven to govern the people of the state, they must do it for the welfare of the people in both material goods and moral guidance. He warned the rulers that "if they did not rule well, heaven would bring it about that their people would rebel and oust them" (p. 44). "If the ruler pleases...