Confucius Vs Kant

2644 Words11 Pages
Rites, Morals and Community: East-West Perspectives on the Role of Ritual Daniela Rusu 1. Introduction Confucius (551-479) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) both take up a cornerstone position in the history of thinking about society. When we zoom in on their conceptions on the social functions of rites, we find both overlap and have strong differences. Both Confucius and Kant attached great importance to areas like religion, rituals, study and education in society. Confucius however, adheres to a strict hierarchical societal structure. In contrast to Confucius, Kant, did not assign any special role to the upper class in religious practice ant rites. He emphasises the necessity of all individuals to participate actively in their social and spiritual…show more content…
Each has its place in the hierarchy of the earth and all the relationships between people are subject to the same rules. In the understanding of Confucius ritual is a necessary rein to feelings and impulses that keeps them under control of the mind. Confucianism’s moral philosophy is based on the principle that man, being a small part of the whole of nature, a microcosm, is itself the general qualities of nature's order, justice, kindness, honesty. Therefore, it is enough for man to be trained and to be directed in order to improve. Perfection is given to them by example by their ancestors. Following their pattern, children should have respect for parents; individuals observe the state to respect the living as well as the dead. From the youngest to the eldest, everyone has to meet debt obligations carried by their hierarchical level. One can see this well illustrated in the concept of Liji, a concept that originated in ancient times and brings together a part of human societal relations with the sacred sphere (divination, sacrifices to the spirits of…show more content…
These moral principles or rites are acts performed by human beings with the purpose of bringing ‘aligning’ in the world. This is understood as bringing order in the relationships between men and women, the young and the elderly etc. It can also be applied to relationships of non-human beings, such as animals, or even inanimate entities such as rain. Liji, from an ideological perspective, is meant to bring humanness and to unite beings. Liji gained in China an exceptional value. This was because it was believed that they were created by the sages of antiquity, in accordance with the nature of people and the cosmic order of all things. The members of the society were required to comply with it, that is, to behave properly, adequately to the situation. The execution of the Liji (in any sense of the term) was essential for the ancient Chinese: It balances the world and fills it with harmony - that to which all things must tend. Confucius said that without Liji public order is impossible, and hence there cannot be well-being or prosperity in the country. Li establishes the order of things, in its absence the difference between monarch and subjects, upper and lower classes, would not be

More about Confucius Vs Kant

Open Document