Please wait a minute...

Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2012, Vol. 7 Issue (3) : 455-470
Self and Community in the Xunzi
TANG Siufu()
School of Chinese, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
Download: PDF(274 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks

This paper investigates Xunzi’s ideas on self and community. According to Xunzi, the origin of Confucian rituals lies in the need to nourish human desires. However, this nourishment is more than the simple satisfaction of desire. Rather, in the development of rituals, desires are evaluated and directed according to the overall good of a person in order that the person can actively pursue fulfilment and self-realization. If human beings are controlled by momentary desires, they live like beasts and cannot act as autonomous agents. Confucian rituals constitute a normative framework for human life and desires. Following Xunzi, this normative framework is based on a cultural and collective interpretation of our own nature. Through Confucian rituals a person can not only satisfy desires properly, but can also enjoy human relationships within the community. Most importantly, it is through these Confucian rituals that a person realizes himself as an agent who can control and direct his own life.

Keywords self      community      Xunzi      rituals      Confucianism     
Corresponding Author(s): TANG Siufu,   
Issue Date: 05 September 2012
 Cite this article:   
TANG Siufu. Self and Community in the Xunzi[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2012, 7(3): 455-470.
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
TANG Siufu
Related articles from Frontiers Journals
[1] TENG Fei. Joining the Transformation of Nature—The Post-Natural and Confucian Perspective on Earth Stewardship in the Anthropocene[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(1): 53-72.
[2] NI Peimin. How Is the Kantian or Confucian Metaphysics Applicable to Human Dignity—Response to Wang Xiaowei[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(1): 29-35.
[3] WANG Xiaowei. Toward a Confucian Notion of Human Dignity[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(1): 7-28.
[4] Henrique Schneider. Tricking or Benefitting the People? Guanzi on Objective Government and Subjective Preferences[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2019, 14(3): 363-383.
[5] Michele Ferrero. Motivation to Act in Confucianism and Christianity: In Matteo Ricci’s The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven (Tianzhu Shiyi 天主實義)[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2019, 14(2): 226-247.
[6] Yoshimi Orii. The Limits of a Confrontational Approach: Fabian Fukansai’s Critiques of Neo-Confucianism and Christianity[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2019, 14(2): 181-200.
[7] XU Keqian. A Contemporary Re-Examination of Confucian Li 禮 and Human Dignity[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(3): 449-464.
[8] NI Peimin. Toward a Gongfu Reconstruction of Confucianism —Responses to Comments by Huang Yong, Fan Ruiping, and Wang Qingjie[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(2): 240-253.
[9] FAN Ruiping. Principlism, Pragmatism, or Reconstructionist Confucianism? —Some Comments on Ni Peimin’s English Translation of the Analects [J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(2): 207-216.
[10] PENG Guoxiang. Contemporary Chinese Philosophy in the Chinese-Speaking World: An Overview[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(1): 91-119.
[11] Ady Van Den Stock. The Semantics of Wisdom in the Philosophy of Tang Junyi: Between Transformative Knowledge and Transcendental Reflexivity[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2018, 13(1): 39-54.
[12] Alicia Hennig. Three Different Approaches to Virtue in Business- Aristotle, Confucius, and Lao Zi[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(4): 556-586.
[13] Jeevan F. D’Souza,C. Kelly Adams. On Measuring the Moral Value of Action[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(1): 122-136.
[14] TAN Mingran. The Problem of Confucian Moral Cultivation and Its Solution: Using Ritual Propriety to Support Rule by Law[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2016, 11(1): 88-103.
[15] LAN Fei. Humanity and Paternal Eros: The Father-Son Relationship in Comparative Perspective[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2015, 10(4): 629-646.
Full text