Virtues and Rituals: Confucianism and Education for Justice

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In this chapter, we discuss the implications of Confucianism for understanding education for justice. First, we offer a brief survey of the thought of three classical Confucians: Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi. Facing the political chaos of that time, Confucius emphasises that an ideal society should be harmonious, which implies that people should learn to be virtuous junzi. Mencius further elaborates this view and argues that human beings naturally have moral emotions. By developing these emotions, people can acquire various Confucian virtues. Finally, Xunzi suggests that rituals play a central role in moral development. Rituals provide a kind of daily training that continuously transforms the character of people and enables people to work toward the ideal of junzi. Hence, a unique feature of Confucian education is its emphasis on rituals in the cultivation of virtues. We further argue that western civic education can be benefited by incorporating some insights from a Confucian view. While certain civic virtues, such as respectfulness and tolerance, are necessary for maintaining a healthy democracy, the rituals that can enhance the cultivation of these virtues should not be overlooked in civic education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJustice, Education, and the World of Today
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Investigations
EditorsInga Bostad, Marianna Papastephanou, Torill Strand
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003327332
ISBN (Print)9781032355351, 9781032355368
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Studies in the Philosophy of Education

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Philosophy


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