Confucian Political Philosophy

David Wong

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728365 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Confucian Political Philosophy

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  • History of Western Philosophy
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Confucianism is an ethics tied intimately with political philosophy. According to the text that is the most reliable guide to the teachings of Confucius, the Analects (Lunyu), he took the Mandate of Heaven (tianming) as a guide. The Mandate was formulated during the early period of the Zhou dynasty to justify the overthrow of the Shang dynasty and to legitimate the rule of the Zhou kings. The Confucian diagnosis of China's troubles suggests that the way out of the turmoil required a moral transformation led by the top ranks of Chinese society, a return to the virtue of the early Zhou kings. This article discusses Confucianism and its relation to political philosophy, the role of ritual in the cultivation of goodness, the concepts of ren and junzi, filial piety, the debate between Mozi and Mencius over filial loyalty versus impartial concern, family as the paradigm in a relational and communal conception of political society, the goodness or badness of human nature and its relation to morality, perfectionism and harmony, democracy, rights, and gender equality.

Keywords: Confucianism; political philosophy; Confucius; Analects; virtue; ritual; filial piety; morality; democracy; family

Article.  8796 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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