The Philosophies of Mencius and Xunzi Analytical Essay by Shaad

The Philosophies of Mencius and Xunzi
A discussion of Mencius and Xunzi's differing interpretations of the basic Confucian teachings.
# 116397 | 891 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2008 | BD
Published by on Sep 22, 2009 in Religion and Theology (Eastern) , Philosophy (Religion) , English (Comparison)

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The paper relates that both Mencius and Xunzi were faithful disciples of Confucius, and played significant roles in promoting the teachings. The paper argues that while they seem to draw two opposing philosophies from the same set of teachings, both interpretations have value, and it is not possible to ascertain who was closer to Confucius. The paper illustrates how the dispute stems from a mere confusion of terms; Mencius is talking about the spiritual man, while Xunzi considers the material dimension.

From the Paper:

"Confucius professed to have taught nothing new, but rather to have promoted the traditional way. He stressed that all his teachings were rooted in the Dao. This is the spiritual path, borne of the wisdom of the ancient sage kings, and the substance of the Dao Te Ching, a later collection of the teachings in poetical form. Despite this we recognize originality in the teachings of Confucius, this in terms of his graphic and prosaic style. By putting the teachings into simple and direct language he had lent to it a universal accessibility, something that was not there before. Because of this quality it became eventually possible for the state to adopt it as ethic of governance, and to set up an examination which became the basis of official state appointments."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Confucius. The Analects. Translated by D. C. Lau. New York: Penguin Classics, 1979.
  • Craig, Edward. The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Mencius. Mencius. Translated by David Hinton. New York: Basic Books, 1998.
  • Slingerland, Edward. Effortless Action: Wu-wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early. China. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press US, 2003.
  • Xunzi, Homer Hasenpflug. The Works of Hsuntze. London: Arthur Probsthain, 1928.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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The Philosophies of Mencius and Xunzi (2009, September 22) Retrieved September 24, 2023, from

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