Dao

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1–19

Special Topic: Filial Piety: The Root of Morality or the Source of Corruption?

Confucianism and Corruption: An Analysis of Shun’s Two Actions Described by Mencius
Special Topic

Abstract

Confucianism advocates the lofty moral ideal of “humane love” (ren ai 仁愛) and condemns immoral actions. Strangely enough, however, Mencius, a “paradigmatic Confucian intellectual” who believed that “a true man cannot be corrupted by wealth, subdued by power, or affected by poverty” (Tu 1989a: 15), highly commended such typically corrupt actions as bending the law for the benefit of relatives or appointing people by mere nepotism when he talked about Shun 舜 in the text of the Mencius. In the first four sections of this article, I will address the issue of how Confucianism encourages a special kind of corruption through its fundamentally consanguineous affection. Then, in the remaining sections, I will try to respond to some criticisms of my views by a few Chinese scholars.

Keywords

Confucianism Consanguineous affection Corruption Nepotism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Value and CultureBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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