Monday, December 8, 2008

Human Nature, Confcianism and Legalism

So, based on today's discussion, its clear that the Confucians and Legalists had very different ideas about Human Nature. The Legalists were generally very pessimistic, thus leading them to conclude that for a state to succeed, rules and order needed to be maintained. If people were free to choose whether or not to follow a leader, they would never do so, so in order for the society to thrive, rewards and punishments were necessary.

The Confucians, having a generally optimistic view of society, concluded that people would naturally do good if they were shown an example of goodness on behalf of the leader. Essentially, the Confucians advocated for a moderated form of anarchy, but not the negative idea of anarchy we associate with the word today, but a very positive view of anarchy in which people are so good that they don't even need laws.

So, in your opinion, which of these two is closer to getting it right on human nature? Consider things like Hurricane Katrina-when people were stripped of all laws, what happened? Then again, billions of dollars are given to charitable organizations each year, much of which is done anonymously. There are examples of both positive and negative views of human nature all around us. So what are we-good or bad?


Anonymous said...


I think that Confucianism most relates most to the needs of human nature. This is because it truly believes in the good of the people and has a caring background.
In the situation of Hurricane Katrina, it was a time of crisis. People went crazy without laws (Confucianism is also about not having laws). This was because it felt like the government left them stranded in a time they needed them most. The citizens affected by the Hurricane acted in such manners not because they didn't have any restrictions, but because they were alone in a time they needed people most. There should be restrictions put on people in acts of crisis when they cannot change the situation, but on a regular basis, there should not be restrictions.
This is a good form of government for the people of the world because people don't realize that they are all the same. They should be able to do what they want and when, it makes life more exciting. And in Confucianism it is great because there is still a government ruling to make sure it is running smoothly. This is a great concept because it makes people know they are safe and it gives them faith that they are trusted by their government. Being trusted by the people ruling over, is a comforting thought. Confucianism is better for the human race.

cindy said...

Aside from the questions that i may have answered i just briefly wanted to post a few of my personal beliefs on which form of government i think to be more efficient and effective in maintaining a prosperous nation (etc...) I think, to a great extent, that the Legalist views are more realistic between the two. (Yes, perhaps there may be a much less amount of people who think this way, compared to Confusianist, in our society yet I strongly think that citizens MUST have laws, of any kind, to fallow. It is CRITICAL that there is some control over the people because it is obvious, no matter how much we force ourselves to believe there is not, people who are NATURALLY BAD. Even i, if given the option, might not do the right things the first time. Based off of personal experiences i strongly do think that it is not normal for the average person to, for their lifetime, do all good. No matter how great the people may disagree, it makes the most sense if there are consequences for the actions that citizens make, along with rewards. Citizens learn, the majority of the time unless they choose not too, from their mistakes and with the bad, i believe, comes the good. Therefore, compared to the Confusius belief/governmental form to the Legalistic view i would find Legalism to have a much stronger argument. I do not believe that all people have the natural tendency to do good (but that does not mean that I don't think that every-one is bad either =]
With laws, we are able to keep in control and i think that it is VITAL that punishments and rewards are established.

Anonymous said...

hey its talia rubnitz

I wrote for this one, but it posed on the other one.