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On Xunzi's Political Ethics

Posted on:2007-03-22Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:F H ZhuFull Text:PDF
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In Xunzi's ideological system, the gist is the illustration of political ethics, whether it's on the probing into the argumentation of moral subjects' ideological regular patterns or on the thinking about trying best to correct political order, building up the monarchical policy's influence on the relationship of the commonly accepted laws and courtesy and political system. Xunzi's political ethics is mainly embodied in the social rational philosophy, such as the "People First" concept, "Respecting Monarch" ideology and "Inhabited Together to Be Harmonized into a Unity". It also can be seen in the political tactics carried out to realize this social political ideal, such as "Benevolence respected and ruling by force depreciated", "Laws and courtesy valued".The theoretical foundation of Xunzi's political ethics thought is numerous and jumbled. The foundation of constructing this theory consists of three basic points: first, the concept of "people parting from Heaven"; second, the basis of theory of human nature, i. e. theory of "evil of human nature"; third, the social theory, i.e. theory of "people grouping", which are Xunzi's social refinement upon people's socialization.Xunzi's political ethics thought can be divided into two respects:One is Xunzi's political ethics ideas------"the People First", "Respecting Monarch" and "Inhabited Together to Be Harmonized into a Unity". The former two seem contradictory in Xunzi's thought. On one hand, he puts the people in the position of the tool, on the other hand he realizes the immense strength contained among the folks, maintaining the social governing mode of autocratic centralization of state power and the ideal society in which people should be inhabited together to be harmonized into a unity. Based on the dialectical relation between "division" and "combination", the main content of society is expounded from the four aspects, i. e. division of occupation, human relation, distribution system and political order. This has unique glamour among the various schools of thought and their exponents during the period from pre-Qin times to the early years of the Han Dynasty.The other is the condition leading to the realization of political value. In order to construct the ideal society in which people should be inhabited together to be harmonized into a unity, Xunzi explores the theoretical routes as the following: (1) he politically proposes that "wangdao" and "badao" should be used concurrently; (2)he insists that a social mode could be set up by combining etiquette with law and expanding function of courtesy in an all-round way; (3)he puts forward to the economic tactics to enrich the people and strengthen the country by encouraging production and advocating consumption, which shows his political ethics in terms of economics; (4)he pays close attention to management and control of ideology, and advocates the work concerning culture and education.Xunzi's theory of human nature points out people's evil is usually exposed when facing interests. One's evil means emotion overflowing and reason being out of control. "People grouping" shows that people have social, characteristics which add to the total of their social relationships just as Marx said. People are emotional animals and the social animals with reason even more. The individual's existence is due to interests of the colony. While meeting its selfish desires, the individual have the responsibility to safeguard the whole harmoniously, and promote the social progress even more. Seen from epistemology, the idea of "people parting from the Heaven" has already revealed "the relationship of subject and object" and indicated that the subject has its independence, initiative and creativity. Xunzi's political ethics elaborates theoretically how to construct an ideal society and how to govern the society based on the philosophy of "the relationship of subject and object" and tells people how to make good choices when the individual and the colony are in the contradictory situation in front of interests of society.More than 2,000 years ago, Xunzi explored the construction of the harmonious society, the social stability, the national prosperity, and the individual living and working in peace and contentment in an all-round way in such aspects as economics, politics, culture and society. Nowadays Xunzi's philosophy of political ethics has still been of great value and practical meaning in the process of building a harmonious society of China.
Keywords/Search Tags:Xunzi, political ethics, good and evil of human nature, laws and courtesy, political order, "inhabited together to be harmonized into a unity"
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