Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (2):363-379 (2017)

This essay examines the textual evidence and arguments for two rival ways of interpreting Xunzi's accounts of the origins and normative bases of ritual and the Way: a human-centered line of interpretation which maintains that the moral order constituted by the Confucian Way and its ritual tradition was the artificial creation of a group of ancient sages, and a Heaven-centered line of interpretation which maintains, in contrast, that those same sages based the Confucian Way and its ritual tradition on a cosmic moral order that they discovered already existing in the world. It argues that the weight of textual evidence best supports a version of the former view, and shows that three representative versions of the latter view do not withstand critical scrutiny.
Keywords Confucian ethics  Confucianism  Xunzi  Heaven  morality  ritual
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DOI 10.1111/jore.12181
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The World of Thought in Ancient China.David S. Nivison - 1988 - Philosophy East and West 38 (4):411-419.
Heaven as a Source for Ethical Warrant in Early Confucianism.Philip J. Ivanhoe - 2007 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 6 (3):211-220.

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