High Mountains of Admiration: The Philosophy of Moral Education of the Confucian Big Three

  • Zhuran You
  • A. G. Rud
  • Yingzi Hu


This chapter covers the philosophies of moral education of Confucius, Mencius, and Hsun Tzu. It starts with Confucius’ ideas of rule by morality, which highlight the integration of politics and moral cultivation, then comes to the spiritual core of benevolence and the doctrine of the mean, and the concept cluster made up of faithfulness, credibility, reciprocity, filial piety, and righteousness, as well as their implications for moral education. Next it focuses on Mencius and Hsun Tzu by contrasting their philosophies, for example, Mencius’ proposition of “good nature” versus Tzu’s “evil nature” argument, Mencius’ themes of benevolence and righteousness versus Hsun Tzu’s solemnizing rites and valuing laws, and Mencius’ roles of the heart and qi in cultivating morality versus Hsun Tzu’s use of rites to eliminate evil intentions and shape good habits.


  1. Anonymous. (1980). Commentaries and explanations to the thirteen classics. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company.Google Scholar
  2. Confucius. (1989). The analects of Confucius. In Y. Zhang (ed. & trans.), Translation of the four books (pp. 60–253). Changsha: Hunan University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Han, Q. (1995). The reasons why Chinese science and technology fell behind in the early modern time. Studies in Dialectics of Nature, 11, 9–14.Google Scholar
  4. Han, Y. (2009). Initiative moral education model in higher education under the influence of Confucianism. Journal of Heilongjiang College of Education, 28(7), 148–149.Google Scholar
  5. Hsun Tzu. (1997). Hsun Tzu. Shenyang: Liaoning Education Press.Google Scholar
  6. Lai, K. L. (1995). Confucian moral thinking. Philosophy East and West, 45(2), 249–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Liu, J. (2007). Analysis on the scientific spirit in Confucius’ thoughts. Forum of Social Sciences, 7, 20–22.Google Scholar
  8. Mencius. (1989). Mencius. In Y. Zhang (ed. & trans.), Translation of the four books (pp. 258–536). Changsha: Hunan University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Richey, J. (2005). Confucius. In Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved from
  10. Shen, H. (2010). An exploration of Mencius’ thought on moral education. Education Exploration, 1, 10–11.Google Scholar
  11. Wang, Z. (1994). An empirical study on the influence of philosophy on science and technology: The reason of Chinese science and technology falling behind in early modern era. Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanities & Social Sciences), 1, 42–47.Google Scholar
  12. Yang, Z. (2006). The mandate of heaven as the source of virtue: Religiosity of Confucian morality. Social Sciences in China, 3, 39–49.Google Scholar
  13. Yum, J. O. (1988). The impact of Confucianism on interpersonal relationships and communication patterns in East Asia. Communications Monographs, 55(4), 374–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Zisi. (1989). The doctrine of the mean. In Y. Zhang (ed. & trans.), Translation of the four books (pp. 258–536). Changsha: Hunan University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhuran You
    • 1
  • A. G. Rud
    • 2
  • Yingzi Hu
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Teacher EducationShaoxing UniversityShaoxing CityChina
  2. 2.College of EducationWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Office of the ProvostShaoxing UniversityShaoxing CityChina

Personalised recommendations