The Logic in Confucian Virtues

Li Maosen (Renmin Universität)


It is believed in the Confucian moral ideas that human needs should be properly satisfied in order to foster the growth and development of the individuals as well as the society.
A logic will be analyzed in this talk that the Five Confucian Virtues can be understood in a diagram with three categories. Ren (benevolence and caring) and Li (rules and moral reasoning) are the first category, bearing the specific values and standards of social behavior. Yi (justice and righteousness) is the second category. It is usually considered as a personal quality that is necessary for right action and correct thinking. This talk emphasizes that it is actually an interactive development between and of the personal competence and social regulations. Zhi (learning and wisdom) and Xin (trust and fidelity) are the third category. They are considered as the practice of the individuals who are expected to fulfill their social roles under the Confucian value-orientations.
The lesson we learn from this three-category diagram of Confucian virtues is that Yi (justice and righteousness) should be regarded as an individual-centered quality, but measured and empowered in at least other four aspects among which the first category emphasizes social demands and the third category emphasizes personal endeavors in practice. However, one’s moral character is often more underlined than the rule of law in the Confucian society.

  • Mo, 08. Jan 2018, 18.00 Uhr

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