chapter  6
26 Pages

A Partial Exemplar: Zilu

In addition to offering rich narrative depictions of Confucius, the Analects also of course describes those who constitute Confucius’ community. Indeed, much of what the text reveals about Confucius is brought to light by way of his interactions with others and, principally, with his students. They do not feature merely as interlocutors who prompt Confucius’ various refl ections, but as signifi cant protagonists in their own right and in the wider movement of the story the text tells. What is most of interest to me here is the way in which these men often fi gure as limited, or partial, exemplars. Before I address these students and the student, Zilu, in particular, let me briefl y rehearse in more general fashion what scrutiny of partial exemplars may afford for exemplarist moral reasoning.