Mo Dibetter known as Mozi or "Master Mo," was a Chinese thinker active from the late 5th to the early 4th centuries B.
This question has not only been pondered by countless philosophers, but also by religious leaders around the world. Most often a single religious faith believes in either one or the other, and often these beliefs tend to create a certain world-view which dictates much of the faith.
However, in some cases such as the one I will be discussing, two religious dignitaries do not agree and the repercussions of this can be found throughout the religion. The two men are Mencius, an early pupil of Confucius and Hsun Tzu, a later follower of the same faith.
Mencius believed that each man, born of woman, would be naturally good and Hsun Tzu believed almost the complete opposite. Through Mencius and Hsun Tzu s differing beliefs on human nature a completely different world view was formed for each and it s effect on their ideas and more importantly a young religion were apparent.
Before venturing into the essay, however, I would like to consider where this religion originated, and the meanings for it s existence as to better equip us to understand it s views. Confucianism as a religion was founded by Confucius, a man. It involves no superior beings other than man himself, and deals specifically with the interactions between fellow men.
It also specializes on the actions a government King should take for it s people.
The religion was founded by Confucian himself, he lived from B. He was just a man with an opinion. His opinion sprung from his unhappiness with society and the fall it had taken from what it had been. It had changed to an empire where values were ignored, and the past was just that, the past.
He foresaw a proud China with values restored, and humility made once again important. Confucian s main ideas were to adapt the good things from the past to the technology of today. The good things he speaks of are a government where the King is like a loving father to the people, where the King would protect his people and the people in turn would follow the King.
Mencius and Hsun Tzu Xunzi were two later teachers of the Confucius ideas, but each had their own twist to what Confucius had started. Not much is known about Mencius or Hsun Tzu, but some basic information stirs around various interpretations of their works. Mencius was found to be one of the most important pupils of Confucius, he continued his work and added many new outlooks and clarity to some of Confucius teachings.
Hsun Tzu, on the other hand, was a very well journeyed man.
He had been surrounded by war, involved in politics and had a much greater variety of experience than that of Mencius or Confucius. Hsun Tzu came be a few years after Mencius death and put a spin on Confucian beliefs and ideas.
The difference in their beliefs is where the faith is defined, through the teachings of Mencius and Hsun Tzu a large problem arose. This problem was their views on human nature.
Their differing ideas came to shape Confucianism into what it is today, and their differing world-views can explain a lot about their teachings. When dealing with these two ideas, we must first decipher what is meant by nature in the sense that Mencius and Hsun Tzu discuss.
They are calling nature all the abilities that man is born with, the instincts which make a man human. Gut feelings, emotions and passions that are instilled in every human being from the moment of their conception. And finally a world-view is, as philosophers would call it, an idea with which other ideas are based.
An idea which influences basic decision making and general way of life of any individual. As Mencius and Hsun Tzu begin their respective teachings, the difference is immediate. It is painfully obvious when reading the two that each has their own view on things, and this world-view, shapes how they approach Confucian ideas.
Mencius states No man is devoid of a heart sensitive to the suffering of others. With these two statements one can see where problems would arise. Mencius is looking at the world through the eyes of an optimistic, loving and maybe even naive person. While Hsun Tzu seems to be more pessimistic, harsh and lacks faith in humanity.
However further analysis is necessary.
Mencius refers to a story of man who, when coming upon a boy about to fall into a well, he immediately rushes to his assistance, with no thought of personal gain only of the boys safety.
While when Hsun Tzu says that man s nature is ultimately evil, he is saying that every man is driven by his desires, and these desires are for himself, and himself alone.
They are not for society as a whole or even honorable, they are nothing more than petty, unrefined emotions. With these thoughts in mind Mencius will view the world in terms of humanity which should be working off of it s natural abilities, compassionate heart, heart capable of shame and respect, and the heart of right and wrong.
While, Hsun Tzu, a humanity which should fight it s nature at every turn.
With these two basic world-views now known, one can better understand their teachings.mencius-cultivate qi-accumulated acts of rightness where indiv become connected w heaven & earth mencius vs xunzi education. mencius-education as natural development of inherent tendencies xunzi-education as effort to reform/shape unruly nature.
external requirements for education-xunzi. As Mencius and Hsun Tzu begin their respective teachings, the difference is immediate. It is painfully obvious when reading the two that each has their own view on things, and this world-view, shapes how they approach Confucian ideas.
Mencius won out as the prime interpreter of Confucious, and Hsün Tzu's, just like Pelagius, Julian and many other philosophical opponents of Augustine, were condemned, and though not forgotten, certainly not held in the same degree of authority.
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle were teachers and students while Confucius, Mencius, and Hsun Tzu were all along the same line of thought as the founder and followers of Confucianism.
Thus it is not surprising that the six philosophers showed the same trend of change in time: Plain (oral tradition), ideal, and practical.
Mencius extended and refined Confucius teachings and is generally recognized as the Number Two of the Confucian School of thoughts. Confucius taught the people to maintained the relationships between king and officers, parents and children etc as in “君君，臣臣，父父，子子”.
Hsun Tzu’s influence can be seen in the formation of the official state doctrine of the Han Dynasty however his influence waned in comparison to Mencius in the Dynasties that followed.1 In this exegesis essay I will be focus on two of Hsun Tzu’s philosophies; his theory on human nature and his theory concerning nature.