Confucius: the Virtues of Man and His Laws Term Paper

Confucius: the Virtues of Man and His Laws
A discussion of virtue and law as defined by Confucius' philosophy.
# 116444 | 2,801 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2009 | US
Published on Sep 29, 2009 in Asian Studies (East Asian Cultures) , Philosophy (Eastern)

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This paper discusses the virtues that Confucius believed to be fundamentally important to society, and his idea that laws have no value in improving society. The writer explains that the rules governing filial piety, which Confucius saw as the basis of all other virtues, are not described by Confucius, since they were already a tradition in his time, but can be found to some extent in the earlier 'Classic of Rights'. The idea that the state is nothing else but the large family determines Confucius' views on the key problems of society and his view of law, and also highlights a contradiction in his philosophy. On the one hand, the ruler is to be obeyed as the head of the state and therefore of the family, but on the other hand, Confucius held that the Head of the State must be a man of exceptional moral integrity, and if not, it was the duty of a virtuous man to disobey him. The paper concludes with the writer's own views on Confucius' philosophy.

From the Paper:

"Confucius objected to the codification of laws and insisted on his belief that for good governance of the country the only thing necessary and sufficient is for the ruler to possess exceedingly high moral qualities. This would inspire his subjects towards goodness and filial piety. At that time the idea of two opposite methods of control appears in the Chinese political history. First of all, control with the aid of rules of decency that include the entire traditional system of moral and cultural values, and secondly the laws, which indicate extremely strict and severe regulation/forced obedience."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Waley, Arthur. The Analects of Confucius. London: Allan and Unwin, 1938.
  • Military Ministries. The Holy Bible. Colorado Springs: 2001.
  • Israeli, Raphael. Islam in China. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2002.
  • Riegel, Jeffrey. "Confucius." 2006. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 5 Sep. 2006 <>.
  • Stevenson, Daniel C. "Confucius, the Analects." CA. 500 BC. The MIT Internet classics Archive. 4 Oct. 2000 <>.

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