“Why use an ox-Cleaver to carve a chicken?” The sociology of the junzi ideal in the lunyu

Philosophy East and West 59 (1):pp. 47-70 (2009)

Central to Confucian teachings in the Analects is the ideal of self-cultivation—in particular that of the junzi 君子 (“gentleman” “nobleman”) ideal. At the same time that Confucius recommends that individuals follow such an ideal, he also places limits on who actually might attain it. By examining statements involving such terms as the junzi, the “petty man” ( xiao ren 小人), and the “masses” ( min 民, or zhong 眾), or common people, this essay highlights the sociopolitical and gender restrictions informing one of the most basic, yet lofty, ethical goals of the text. A new means is also offered of discussing these socially delimited discrepancies in moral cultivation by referring to leading, or self-determining agency in association with junzi on the one hand, and to conformist agency for women and common people on the other.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/pew.0.0033
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,999
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Tragedies of Non-Ideal Theory.Robert Jubb - 2012 - European Journal of Political Theory 11 (3):229-246.
Antonio S. Cua: A Confucian Junzi.Vincent Shen - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (2):317–319.
Confucian Moral Cultivation, Longevity, and Public Policy.Li Chenyang - 2010 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (1):25-36.
Ordinary Ethical Reasoning and the Ideal of 'Being Yourself'.Joshua Knobe - 2005 - Philosophical Psychology 18 (3):327 – 340.
Virtues of Junzi.Antonio S. Cua - 2007 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (s1):125-142.
The Concept of Junzi in the Zhongyong.Wenyu Xie - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (4):501-520.


Added to PP index

Total views
55 ( #150,858 of 2,266,717 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #177,456 of 2,266,717 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature