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Mencius on Human Nature Berger Intro to Asian Religions.

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Presentation on theme: "Mencius on Human Nature Berger Intro to Asian Religions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mencius on Human Nature Berger Intro to Asian Religions

2 Mencius’ Historical Background  Mencius = Meng Tzu 孟子 ( BCE)  From a neighboring state to Confucius’ birthplace, and according to legend, pupil of Confucius’ grandson  Traveled through eastern Chinese states for forty years, seeking office and patronage of views  Court minister in state of Ch’i, , taking three years’ leave to mourn mother’s death  Lack of influence led to retirement from public life  Teachings become classic of Confucian exam curriculum

3 Arguments Against Neutrality of Human Nature / Relativity of Morals  Examples of the cups, bowls and water (477-78)  Argument meant to show that supposedly neutral phenomena still have natural tendencies ( 性 xing), just like human nature. ( 人性 ren xing)  The issue of benevolence ( 仁 ren) and propriety being internal (pp )  Argument meant to show that both respect and the ability to tell who to respect come from inside and not outside a person (nature over culture)

4 Arguments about Inborn Moral Feelings  Example of the Trees on Ox Mountain (p. 480)  The Relative Importance of the Heart ( 心 xin) and its spontaneous preference for good (p. 481)  The Example of the Child in the Well (p. 481)  Argument based on spontaneous feeling ( 情 qing)  The Four Sprouts of Feeling: compassion, shame, propriety and distinguishing right from wrong

5 for Next Class  Sourcebook


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