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Views on War[edit]

The current paragraph on Mencius' views on war seems unsourced and written highly unencyclopedic. Can somebody clarify whether Mencius actually mentioned something like that, and if so, word it more appropriately? DDSaeger (talk) 14:59, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


I added table with all the names. For the debate that led to translations "ancestral name" and "clan name", see Talk:Confucius. Sources for the Mencius table are: [1], [2], and [3], among others. Hardouin 18:54, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Portrait's eyes pointing outwards[edit]

Wikipedia standards (I don't recall which particular one) say that pictures with people should have the person looking towards the main text. The picture of Mencius is looking away from the text. --Amazon10x 23:04, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

If there were another standard that require the infobox to be on the right, then you can only conform to one or the other standard. I don't think using the mirror image of a portrait is a good idea at all. Kowloonese 23:35, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
It is not easy to find a classic portrait looking towards the text. You know, in Chinese style the important person is located leftside, so in most of the portraits, Mencius looks rightward. Anermay (talk) 11:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


I don't know anything about Mencius, but when I read this article I immediately thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Neither article makes any mention of the other, but I wonder if they should. I would be fascinated to hear of the similarities and differences between the ideas of Mencius and Rousseau. Can anyone who knows more about Mencius help to draw a comparison? 23:52, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

→ Your observations about the similarities between Mencius and Rousseau are reasonably correct, especially in light of Rousseau's Émile. While a comparison might be helpful, it could generate a larger line of comparison among all progressive pedagogs (including Plato, Rousseau, Dewey, Montessori, A.S. Neill and others). For this reason, the biographical article for Mencius is perhaps not the correct place for such a comparison. burdenko 18:05, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

You are very wrong about this, I don't know how you could possibly think they are similar. What common values did you have in mind? 08:58, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I have not studied Rousseau - are there similarities deeper than the fact that both thought human nature was good? On a related note, I apologize for having started the comparisons section and not having yet elaborated on Mencius' rivalries with his contemporaries. The article is not long so there shouldn't be a problem with comparing Mencius to Western philosophers as well, provided there are proper sources. Any more general points may be put in Chinese philosophy#Comparison between Chinese and Western philosophy. Pomte 22:07, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Mencius did not think human nature was good. He thought people were given the ability to distinguish between right and wrong from heaven (used in a political sense) through a sense of innate morality which they *should* use to guide their actions. He stressed the importance of shame in self-improvement. Therefore it is ridiculous to say he thought human nature was good. It is also disputed as to what system Rousseau really had in mind, as his thought contains both liberal and totalitarian elements.

So what is difference between innate and naturally born with? I seem to read that Mencius compares the "four beginnings" with the four limbs of our body(2A:6). His argument centers around the virtue of compassion and use of reason. This compares with Rousseau who makes the same argument in Discourse in Inequality. Mencius uses a parable of a child falling into a well to show that everyone is gifted with compassion. Rousseau uses Mandeville's Fable of the Bee story which uses an example of someone witnessing a child being eaten by a wild beast while being chained to a wall. Both then argue that one should use this feeling of compassion to guide their conduct and make decisions (reason or wisdom-zhi)which requires a knowledge of good (following our innate "human" senses or human heart-) or following our evil desires (animal nature). If one then incorporates this reason into our everyday conduct (righteousness) it will lead one to become a sage or a better person, a person who uses their human heart to make decisions. Mathmatically...if one agrees with Menicus and Rousseau, then this could be considered as "A." If one argues human nature is evil like Xunzi and Mandevilxinle (who Rousseau plainly says he is refuting and then argues that this concept of his can not be found in Western history), call "B". Rousseau refutes Mandeville. Mencius refutes Xunzi. A or B...any other answers can only be seen as C (Locke that humans are born without any innate qualities) or some form of combination between A and B. The previous writer seems to say that Mencius and Locke share the same view, but Locke clearly does not have this concept of compassion in his philosophical views. Thus A and C are different. In the philosophers of the period only Rousseau and Mencius share these views of compassion, except for Christian Wolff, who after reading Mencius makes the statement that human nature is good and that the Chinese should be commended for "developing a rational natural morality, in no way dependent upon religion or revealed truth, in which duty and virtue were exalted" (Davis in Neo-Confucianism and the West). In 1723, Wolff would be expelled from Halle for these statements, but would make him famous in France where the "cult of sensensibiliteor compassion, would become vogue. This becoming popular in England in the 1730s. Twenty years before Rousseau would publish his "own" views of compassion and self-improvement. The problem with attributing these views to Mencius is that he lived before Jesus. Kant, Hobbes, and most of those who deny that men are inherently born good natured or with this sense of compassion and reason, argue instead for the concept of goodness by God's grace only... not by design. This even though the Bible states that God placed his nature into us from the very beginning. Evilness occured when we "chose" not to follow this God given heart and instead following our animal desires and weakness. This also predisposes that one must individually "choose" and cannot be told what is good or evil, but that one must make this decision themselves. The basis of freedom and liberty to choose. That people can become good men or more than only animals argues against atheism as well. There is meaning and purpose to life, but it is up to the individual to discern(using his heart and reason) to figure out what that is. Thus Mencius is a problem for both those who see a need for religious institutions (natural religion does Rousseau, Wolff, and most other Enlightenment philosophers argued)and those who don't want to believe in a God. To refute these ideals, one only needs to read Mandeville's "Fable of the Bees" to see that current Western ideals and philosophies correlate almost exactly with his concepts and definately not with Rousseau's or for that matter with Mencius's. There can only be two sides of the coin or one can look at the coin as a whole or one could deny that there is a coin. Either way you choose there are only four choices...natural virtues, natural vices, neither, both. "There are but two ways to follow, that of humanity and that of inhumanity" (4A:2). "The Way is one and only one" (3A:1). "All men have the mind(heart) which cannot bear to see the suffering of others" (2A:6). "If we think, we will get them (principles). If we do not think, we will not get them. This is what Heaven has given to us" (6A:15)- Reason. "This is what is meant by saying that human nature is good. If man does evil, it is not the fault of his natural endowment (tsai-natural ability or raw material) (6A:6). Mencius clearly believed all men could become a Yao or Shun...that we were all equal in our ability to become better people. The heart of Rousseau's belief in equality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:03, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

In regard to Rousseau, it might be helpful to compare his identification of the natural or uncivilized state with goodness with a saying of Confucius: "One with an excess of natural qualities is a rustic. One with an excess of acquired qualities is a mere clerk. The superior man harmonizes the two".

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 21:56, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Faulty URL[edit]

The external link to Charles Muller's translation of Mencius does not work. -- Anthee (talk) 21:02, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

the "cius" at the end of this guy's name[edit]

Confucii Vita = "The Life of Confucius" (in Latin, of course). 1687. -- Vmenkov (talk) 05:27, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

So why does the English versions of Meng Zi and Kong Fu Zi (Confucius)'s names have the weird "cius" behind them? Could someone explain this to me on my talk page maybe? Children of the dragon (talk) 21:29, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Well I don't know if you are still checking but the English gets it from Latin (all scholarship was still being done in Latin in Europe at the time Europeans became aware of these guys). In Latin nouns have to have an inflectional ending to indicate the part of speech. In the masculine nominative singular it is -us. So the root names are Confuci- (which looks like Kong Fu Zi), and Menci- (which looks like Meng Ze) with an added -us ending telling us that it Latin it is a masculine nominative singular. In proper Latin pronunciation the -cius element should be two syllables. Ekwos (talk) 23:59, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Europe learned about Kong Zi, Meng Zi, and the Chinese philosophy in general mostly due to the work of the international team of Jesuits who, over 100+ years since Matteo Ricci labored to translate major Chinese philosophical works. And, of course, the language they translated them into was Latin... -- Vmenkov (talk) 05:27, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
We may consider ourselves lucky they missed Laocius and Xuncius :-) (talk) 11:37, 5 July 2016 (UTC)





Meng Haoran

Meng Jiao






Mencius Family Mansion

The descendants still live in the Mansion


Attack on Mencius' descendants in the aftermath of Lin Biao's downfall

Page 161

Page 6

74 75

Rajmaan (talk) 21:43, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Political thought[edit]

contribute here

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Mencius/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Here, on this page, there's an image of Mencius holding a book seated in a chair.

This picture is clearly not the image of Mencius, since at the time of Mencius, paper had not yet been invented.

Sorry for my disturbance, but I really don't know how can I inform the editor of this mistake.

Last edited at 02:59, 30 March 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 23:42, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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