The beginning of ethics: Confucius and socrates

Asian Philosophy 15 (2):173 – 189 (2005)
The paper is an effort to better understand, through a comparison, how Confucius and Socrates initate their ethical inquiries that have laid down, respectively, the foundations of Chinese and Western ethics. Since both Confucius and Socrates claim to have a divine mission to undertake their investigations, the paper focuses on the issue about how religion and rational philosophy are related when ethics begins. It shows that both have serious religious belief, yet each has secular rational grounds for doing what he is doing. Finally, each philosopher has a different view about how human beings are related to the divine being, and the difference determines their different approaches to ethics.
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