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p. 484. Variety within early Confucianismlocked

  • Daniel K. Gardner


‘Variety within early Confucianism’ considers two very different, early interpretations of the Confucian tradition that have influenced education, social practices, and intellectual tradition throughout imperial Chinese history: that of Mencius (fourth c.bce) and of Xunzi (third c.bce). Both followers of Confucius agree that: (1) man is morally perfectible; and (2) to achieve moral perfection man must undertake a self-cultivation process. But for Mencius, the source of man's moral potential is internal, found in man's nature itself; for Xunzi, man's nature is evil and he must look externally to his environment and culture to find moral resources to redirect his recalcitrant human nature.

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