Philosophers have documented many articles about the long history about the exact nature of evil and righteous. In Chinese philosophy, however, the concept of moral and evil get different treatment from how the West views the same thing. In broad terms, Chinese philosophy on this issue of moral and evil consists of two schools of thought. They consider themselves as Confucianism and Taoism. Human nature is a concept which sprung from Confucian school. In this paper, I am going to look at two proponents; Mencius and Hsun Tsu, and their views on the evil and a good part of human nature.
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In a nutshell, the paper will attempt to analyze what Hsun Tsus advances on the evil nature of human. Similarly, it will also analyze Mencius philosophy of the good side of human nature. We can argue that the two philosophers developed their entire philosophies from these two basic propositions: good and evil. Although Mencius analyzes both the evil and good side of human nature, he tends to lean more towards the later. He says that the original nature of man is virtuous, but becomes evil when his wishes are not fulfilled (Chan 89). This gives us an insight into the issue of human nature.
Hsun Tsu disembarks from what many Confucianist advance by arguing that mans nature is evil. Hsun argues that humans are born with characteristics that are wicked. He employs basic human characteristics such as envy and jealousy to show the evil nature of humans. In his assertions, Hsun Tsus claims that man's character is evil and that everything considered good comes from the people that go against their evil nature to achieve morality (Watson 54). Hsun Tsu uses numerous metaphors and history of human kind to expose the evil nature of humans. He says that if the nature of human was good, then there would be numerous sages in the population. He believed that, in birth, people become naturally wayward. In other words, they are susceptible towards hate and jealousy which they indulge in, it will culminate into disorder and criminality. Hans Tsu argues that morality can be attained through the guidance of a teacher.
Mencius, on the other hand, holds a different school of though from Hsan Tzu's. According to him, all human minds cannot bear to stand the suffering of others. He gives an example of a person who sees a child about to fall into a well will react by saving him. He argues that one does not do this with an intention of gaining praise from the action, but it is out of ones original, good nature. Mencius human nature is always good but says if constantly subjected to negative influences, then his or her character will be affected. Despite this, Mencius, insists that the original nature of human is good and that evil sets in as a result of external forces. The Mencius theory of nature holds that human nature is good. He alludes what is good to a kernel of grain and that all that is good is like the growing plant of grain.
In a nutshell, as opposed to Mencius, Hsan Tsu holds that man's original nature is evil, and that good is only brought out to cover for that which is evil. Mencius who holds different views on human nature argues otherwise. He sticks to the idea that human nature is good. In conclusion, Mencius theory on human nature can be compared to that of nature and nurture whereby he says that although people come to earth as good, they need a positive environment in order to sustain their goodness. Hsu Tsu on the contrary says that the environment is the only thing that shapes ones immorality.
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