Overview - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Ancient Period: Hundred Schools (Until 221 Bce)

Confucian School

Nature of the Individual

Confucius never explained how it is possible for one to become a superior man. He seemed to imply that man is good by nature, but he said only that "by nature men are alike but through practice they have become far apart." It was necessary to explain how we know that man can be good. Mencius (c. 372–c. 298 BCE), one of his two major followers, supplied that explanation. From the facts that all children know how to love their parents and that a man seeing a child about to fall into a well will instinctively try to save him, Mencius concluded that man's nature is originally good, possessing the "Four Beginnings"—humanity (ren), righteousness (yi), propriety (li), and wisdom—and the innate knowledge of the good and the innate ability to do good. Evil...

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This section contains 9,321 words
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Overview from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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