Mencius Human Nature Analysis

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6. The Conception of Human Nature in Mencius and Xunzi
Human nature describes an innate ability that human beings go through their lives with, shaping their world and interactions with each other. According to Mencius, human nature is, for the most part positive; that is, humans tend to be good. Humans are fundamentally different from other animals in that they are rational, social, and as a result, good. It is important to understand, though, that they are not all moral. Human beings are born with certain tendencies that are permanent, that are impossible to change. They must make an effort to learn about, nurture, and ultimately exhibit a positive human nature. In contrast, Xunzi’s view of human nature was much darker and somber. He did not believe that it was good, and instead thought that without the proper upbringing and discipline, people would fall into destructive behavior. He argued that human beings will naturally attempt to satisfy their tendencies, however bad, without order and education, no matter what their environment. His views rival those of Mencius’s, but both have valid (and in some place similar) philosophies and helped to shape Confucianism over the centuries. Mencius lived during a period of time in China where warfare and turmoil was rampant. Poverty was clearly an issue and states disobeyed the government and
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According to him, a state of deviants and criminals is a state led by horrible leaders. A state like this cannot achieve a good level of human nature. Ultimately, according to Mencius, human nature is inherently good and by nature people want to be good, but human beings must take their experiences and learn from them in order to do so. They must also exist in an environment that allows them to grow. Only then will it be possible to achieve a positive human

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