Govern Them with Moral Force by Ritual

  • Starts: 12:00 pm on Friday, September 7, 2018
  • Ends: 1:30 pm on Friday, September 7, 2018
The Confucian Prescription for Achieving Peace among the Warring States *Reading the paper in advance is required for attendance. Email for the .pdf.* Lawrence A. Whitney, University Chaplain The Warring States (453-221 BCE) was an incredibly violent period of social upheaval in China and also the golden age of Chinese philosophy. The Hundred Schools vied among one another for political influence by proposing prescriptions for ending the conflict and building a harmonious society. Among them, the School of Scholars, characterized by reflection on and with classical literature and now most often referred to as Confucians, prescribed “governing with moral force by ritual.” This paper unpacks the terminology of this conception and its registration among ongoing social, cultural, economic, and political transformations from the three primary Warring States Ru thinkers and their respective texts: Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi. Their understanding of what it means to govern by “effortless action” is contrasted with the understanding of the Daoists. Ultimately, the Ruists delegitimize violence as a moral failure on the part of the ruler who resorts to it and so prescribe reforming the art of leadership through moral self-cultivation by means of ritual. Bring your own lunch and we'll supply some cookies and coffee.
Lawrence A. Whitney, University Chaplain
10 Lenox Street
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Institute on Culture Religion & World Affairs CURA
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Arlene Brennan
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