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[Vol.30 (2018)] Confucius’ Golden Rule and Its Reformulations by Mencius and Xunzi
Author : LEE Junghwan
Date : 19.02.19
Page : 1-27
Keyword : the Golden Rule, shu 恕, reformulations, the commonality-premise, human nature, the imposition-problem, Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi
Abstract :

The primary objective of the present paper is to offer a philosophical account, first, as to a significant intellectual transition, which occurred between Confucius and his successors with regard to shu 恕, and, second, about the divergence between Mencius and Xunzi, both of which remain under-examined in current studies of the Confucian Golden Rule. Confucius proposed shu as a highest-order moral principle as well as “the method of [realizing] ren 仁,” thus conferring enormous weight on this, the earliest formulation of the Golden Rule in human history. He also expressed a conviction in the desirable consequences that the practice of this concise precept would generate. Additionally, this moral principle was expressed with a high degree of consistency in the Analects. Nonetheless, the original shu formulation of Confucius quickly faded away, and it was replaced comprehensively with diverse forms of reformulation in the post-Confucius classics of ancient Confucianism. Concerning these issues, the present study shows the following: The Golden Rule in general, including shu, is grounded on the premise of human commonalities. The so-called imposition-problem, which constitutes the central idea of modernist objections to the Golden Rule, arises from the transition of the underlying premise from human commonalities to interpersonal differences during the early modern period, rather than its inherent defect or incompleteness as a moral principle. Likewise, a drastic transition in formulating shu occurred between Confucius and his successors according to changes in the prevailing views on human commonalities. The notable differences between Mencius and Xunzi in reformulating shu also coincided with a great divergence between them in articulating Confucius’ view on human commonalities in the form of the metaphysical concept of human nature (xing 性) 

Attachments : vol.30 LEE Junghwan.pdf

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