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GuodianThe Newly Discovered Seeds of Chinese Religious and Political Philosophy$
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Kenneth Holloway

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371451.001.0001

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Rhetoric as Self-Cultivation: A Question of Language

Rhetoric as Self-Cultivation: A Question of Language

(p.55) Three Rhetoric as Self-Cultivation: A Question of Language

Holloway Kenneth W.

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a nuanced study of the relationship between “The Five Aspects of Conduct” and Mencius. In “The Five Aspects of Conduct,” This chapter is an important part of self-cultivation, but this is not true of the Mencius. Mencius’s ethical system is primarily concerned with developing the moral framework of the people. This framework is human nature (ren xing), an innate source of goodness that enables us to act as moral agents. Human nature is entirely absent from “The Five Aspects of Conduct,” which instead employs rhetoric as a means of interlinking people. However, an analysis of the religious function of rhetoric and human nature will uncover a degree of similarity from the perspective of the social application of both concepts: they bridge ruptures that otherwise separate individual processes of self-cultivation.

Keywords:   human nature, Mencius, ren xing, moral framework, religion, rhetoric, self-cultivation, ethical system, agency

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