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Zhu Xis (1130–1200) Rezeption der renzheng-Theorie (Politik der Menschlichkeit) des Menzius (ca. 372–289 v. u. Z.) und ihrer philosophischen Grundlagen

Back to issue: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte. Band 48
DOI: 10.28937/9783787336760_4
EUR 16.90

The political theory of renzheng (humane politics) plays an important part in the teachings of Mencius. It is based on his philosophical concept of human nature(xing) where he claims that human beings are born naturally good and that it is the task of every man, above all the task of the ruler, to know the innate moralgood and to realize it in his social and political activities. As a consequence of this concept Mencius in his renzheng theory vehemently opposes autocratic ruleand rule by force, favouring instead the idea of a benevolent government in the interest of the people and demanding the realisation of the lofty ideal of moral rulership. The implied idea that the ruler should be a sage is, in a way, comparable to the ideal of the philosopher king in Plato’s political theory. The importance of the renzheng theory was also recognised by certain Confucian scholars after the death of Mencius because they too considered it as a method to cope with specifi c political and social problems of their times. However, important parts of this theory were often ignored and even opposed by the leading and powerful fi gures in state and society who regarded it as dangerous for their own political interests. In the Song dynasty Mencius and his teachings became more and more important. In the 12th century the Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi supported the revaluation process of Mencius and the book Mengzi. As one result of his efforts the book Mengzi became beside three other books of early Confucianism the basic text for the civil service examinations. This article is focused on Zhu Xi’s political thinking which was obviously infl uenced by Mencius’ renzheng theory.