chapter  12
17 Pages


WithCheung Yu-kit

Confucianism is arguably the most influential local philosophy based on the teachings of Confucius – a Latinized name literally meaning Master Kung – in the history of China. Loosely speaking, there are three major periods of development, namely Traditional Confucianism in pre-Han China, Neo-Confucianism in the Song Dynasty and Confucianism in the twentieth century. Confucianism holds that human beings are able to act virtuously at will whereas animals are unable or unconscious of the need to do so. Confucianism attaches immense importance to learning. The subjects that Confucius taught may also cast light on the importance of versatility in Confucianism. More importantly, there are some keywords, the enduring concepts – regardless of the period or the category – in the Confucian ethos which make the chassis of the philosophy. Compared with the first group of concepts, the second group are more specific, concentrating on the moral subjectivity of mankind and all Confucian moral virtues.