Equality and Inequality in Confucianism

This essay studies equality and inequality in Confucianism. By studying Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi, and other classic thinkers, I argue that Confucian equality is manifested in two forms. Numerical equality is founded in the Mencian belief that every person is born with the same moral potential and the Xunzian notion that all people have the same xing and the same potential for moral cultivation. It is also manifested in the form of role-based equality. Proportional equality, however, is the main notion of equality in Confucian philosophy. Proportional equality is realized in moral, economic, and political realms. On the basis of these notions of Confucian equality, I propose two Confucian political principles for contemporary society. The first is the inclusive principle of general election by citizenry, and the second is the exclusive principle of qualification for public offices.
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-012-9283-0
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Aristotle (2012). Nicomachean Ethics. Courier Dover Publications.
Donald J. Munro (1969). The Concept of Man in Early China. Stanford, Calif.,Stanford University Press.

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