Dr. William Hedberg
November 19, 2012
Writing Assignment #2
Confucius is one of the most important Chinese philosophers of all time. He taught his thoughts, which eventually formed a religion now known as Confucianism, throughout the city-states of China. After his death someone published the thoughts and conversations of Confucius in order to continue his teachings. There were also other thinkers that Confucius taught who continued to spread his teachings. One of these thinkers was Mencius and although he and adapts his ideas from Confucius's Analects, his teachings differ and grow from Confucius' thoughts and teachings.
According to Confucius, everything people do in their mundane, daily lives constitutes ritual. The way people even create and sustain relationships is through rituals. These rituals give us the sense of what it the right thing to do given a certain situation. For example, people know it is wrong to lie but in certain situations it also seems wrong to tell the truth. The right choice is that which gives you a reaction that pleases everyone. “Goodness” is defined as the sense of what one should do, in any context, to affect others in Bennett 2
a positive way. Rituals are customs or conventions people are born into and practice in order to train themselves to be good. According to Confucius’ system there are no divine guidelines and no single rule that can be applied to every situation. In every situation, however, there is something people can do to make the circumstances better or worse. In some ways Confucius’ view of goodness could be considered a question of intention.
Mencius is another teacher of Confucianism and has many of the same beliefs as Confucius. However, he takes what Confucius said and grows on it. Confucius never spoke anything of human nature but Mencius seems to be very concerned with the idea of it. He believed that human nature is innately good. For example if a person sees a kid...