[From the name of the Chinese sage K'ung Fu Tzu (551-479 BCE).]

  1. (ethics) Confucianism is the main stream of Chinese philosophy, just as Western philosophy is mostly in the Socratic tradition. Although the views of Confucius have been interpreted in various ways throughout history, no one denies that they are a powerful variety of humanism. Confucius held that the most important, indeed sacred, aspect of life is one's dealings with other people, and he put great emphasis on virtues such as honesty, justice, and integrity. The Confucian tradition has been fairly conservative (similar in this respect to Aristotelianism); however, often when people talk about Confucianism they are referring not so much to the actual views of Confucius as to the way his writings were used by later interpreters in order to justify authoritarian political practices such as a large bureaucracy and the stratification of society.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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