Presentation on theme: "Mencius on Human Nature Berger Intro to Asian Religions."— Presentation transcript:
Mencius on Human Nature Berger Intro to Asian Religions
Mencius’ Historical Background Mencius = Meng Tzu 孟子 (372-289 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, 319-312, 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
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. 478-479) 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)
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
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