Confucianism B96202043 哲學二 黃晨軒



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Confucianism

B96202043 哲學二 黃晨軒

Confucianism is one of the most important philosophies in China. In the following paragraph, I will introduce Confucius’s idea of human and give some criticism.

Confucius is very optimistic about potential human accomplishments. He thinks that everybody is potentially a sage and wants to be a sage. He remarks that ‘Heaven is author of the virtue that is in me’ demonstrates his conviction that human beings have access to the ultimate reality of Heaven’s morality. However, turn to the sight of actual state of human, he sighs:’ I have no hopes of meeting a sage.’ General speaking, the human condition is one of social discord caused by human beings disaccord with the Decree of Heaven. Consequently, human interaction is marred by strife, rulers govern with attention only personal gain, common people suffer under unjust burdens and social behavior in general is determined by egoism and greed.

What are the reasons for these forlorn circumstances? There are at least five causes can be discerned in the Analects: (1) people are attached to profit; (2) society lacks the respect of filial piety (3) the connection between word and action cannot be trusted; (4) ignorance regarding the way of the sages prevails; (5) benevolence is absent from human affairs.

To get rid of these forlorn circumstances, Confucius indicates the way of sage based on self-discipline. Through it, one may achieve a union of will with the Decree of Heaven which brings peace and security. There are also five ways: (1) Doing what is right simply because it is morally right. (2) Cultivation of self as a good family member, practicing filial piety. (3) Retrieve agreement between name and actually, between word and deed. (4) Study of the classics. (5) Practice the golden rule which means that help others to take their stand in so far as he himself wishes to take his stand.

My criticism of Confucianism can be distinguished to two parts. First is based on social science, the other is based on the bible.

According to social science, I think that Confucius pays excessively attention on the personal morality and ignores the social affection. The five points to correct the ill circumstances of society are based on self-discipline. However, human beings are social animals, whether chooses a life style or make a decision are influenced by society. The questions like ‘what is good? ’, ‘what is a sage?’ are also not the same in different culture.

First, the behavior of people is influence by the circumstance. There are experiments shows that, although a person looks like a sage, when he is put into a circumstance which inspires crime, he will become evil doer rapidly. The long period cultivation of virtue couldn’t resist the evil circumstance.

Second, in the capitalistic society, people think that egoism is not unmoral. On the contrary, egoism is the base of market economy, which brings human flourishing. Through proper institutions, we can have a happiness life although we are selfish.



According to bible, I think that Confucius may be look down upon the evil of our flesh. Jesus says that ‘Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Paul says that ’If any other man thinks to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more, as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. However, I count all things to be loss, because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, and be found in him, having my righteousness, which is of law, but that which is through faith of Christ -- the righteousness that is of God by the faith,’ It is not only in connection with Paul himself but also applied to everybody. According to Titus3:3-5 : For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

To sum up, according the Christian view, people should be born anew, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, and then could be a sage. The way of sage is done by faith not by self-discipline.

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