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The Analects and Apology

Both ConfuciusThe Analects and Plato's Apology deal with the life of the individual in the state and both reach some rather similar conclusions about certain aspects of living in society.

Wing-Tsit Chan has noted that the term jen appears 105 times in the 499 short “chapters” of The Analects. The “man of jen” is the man of the Golden Rule, the virtuous man who not only perfects his own character but also perfects the character of others. This man may or may not, according to the tenor of the times, attempt to play a role in government. The Analects and Apology research papers have been written by philosophy experts. Paper Masters can produce a custom written project following your guidelines.

The Analects and Apology

The Analects and Apology and Virtue

The man of jen is the embodiment of virtue generally, and many specific virtues as well. And it is the virtuous life that is important in Confucian philosophy, not the outer trappings of wealth and success. In IV:5 Confucius states that wealth and high station are desired, but that unless they can be obtained in the “right way,” he, Confucius would not want them.

Confucius takes a rather dim view of the ordinary activities of ordinary men. Thus, he states, “The gentleman understands what is moral. The small man understands what is profitable.” Clearly, Confucius believes that there is, in moral terms, a higher kind of life than most people attain, a life driven by virtue and benevolence and integrity rather than the high opinion of other people. Hence, “The gentleman is troubled about his own lack of ability, not by the failure of other’s to appreciate him.”

The Analects and Apology and Socrates

Similar concerns are expressed by Socrates in Plato’s Apology. What has always fascinated people about the Apology has been Socrates’ utter intransigence with respect to the demands of the state and society when those demands involve compromising his ability to lead a virtuous and meaningful life. Friedlander has seen in his downfall the collapse of Athens itself, a collapse caused when the city “could no longer tolerate its most loyal servant .” Socrates believes that he owes the Athenian state his life if it wishes to take it, but he denies that he owes the state a renunciation of his characteristic virtue of integrity.

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