Sage-King and Philosopher-King: A Political and Moral Approach to Confucius’ and Plato’s Leadership

  • Elena Avramidou


Confucius and Plato suggest with their Sage-king (sheng ren 聖人) and Philosopher-king theory, respectively, a model of political management which dissociates from the old political example and introduces new elements on governance. Descent, power and wealth seize to constitute criteria for participating in governance. By introducing virtue, education and value for those who are called to assume leadership positions, they advocate the coupling of power and knowledge through ethics.

Living, today, in an ever changing world where the phenomena of poor financial management, corruption, lack of transparency and ideals, negative moral models and reduced moral resistance are constantly increasing, and the skills of those who are called to assume leadership positions are placed under questioning, the need for a moral reconstruction of our society becomes a de facto dominant issue.

In this context, the return to the origins of the Eastern and Western civilization can offer an activation of thought and a new political approach that always remains inseparable from ethics. Both Confucian and Platonic thoughts could contribute to the renewal of political thought in the West and the East and the commencement of a meaningful dialogue between two distinct worldviews.


Filial Piety Moral Virtue Confucian Thought Greek Thought Aristotelian View 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Hellenic StudiesPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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