on Ethical Teachings Found in Confucianism
Confucianism is one of the ancient philosophical and religious
teaching which was and stilly remains to be extremely popular
in Asia, especially in China and which value may be viewed
as universal and potentially can be applied to different societies.
Nonetheless, till the present days, Confucianism remains a
typically Chinese philosophy and religion since it is perfectly
adapted to Chinese culture, mentality, and traditions. Anyway,
it is due to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius this movement
On analyzing Confucianism, it is necessary to underline that
ethics is one of the central points in this religious and
philosophical teaching. Basically, Confucianism has developed
a profound ethical values and norms related to practically
all aspects of human life on different levels. In this respect,
it should be said that Confucian ethics basically promotes
obedience and respect to the existing social order and tends
to strict structuring of societal relation on different levels.
One of the basic ethical norms of Confucianism is the necessity
to follow the established rituals and etiquette. It is worthy
of mention that the founder of the teaching, Confucius attempted
to revive old etiquette. This is probably why the norms of
etiquette developed by him are very important to his followers.
Practically, it means that an individual should respect old
traditions and act in accordance to the existing social norms.
To put it more precisely, a follower of Confucianism is supposed
to be honest and trustworthy person and lie is totally unacceptable.
This is why, according to Confucianism, individuals should
fulfill their promises, be frank to other people in order
to meet the basic virtues of Confucianism, i.e. honesty and
Furthermore, Confucian ethics also regulates relations within
a family. Basically, Confucianism promotes love within the
family that is quite natural, notably parents should love
children and children, in their turn, should love their parents.
At the same time, typically for Oriental culture, Confucianism
promotes obedience to parents and the great role in the family
should be played by older people. Practically, it means that,
according to Confucianism, older people are the highest authority
within the family.
At the same time, it is worthy of noting that familial relations
are extrapolate on the entire society and state at large.
To put it more precisely, Confucianism obviously supports
the strict social hierarchy where the relationships between
the ruling elite and the masses of people are quite paternalistic
that may be observed on all levels. For instance, within a
community there may be a leader that possesses the highest
authority while the rest of the members of the community should
obey to the leader, who should take care about his communitarians.
The same may be said about the relationship between the head
of the state and people. In fact, the head of the state is
viewed as a father of nation, who should be honored and respected,
and, in response, he should care about well-being of his people.
Obviously, such ethical norms seem to be well-structured and
typical for Oriental societies and they are quite good in
principle but, at the same time, they are hardly applicable
in the modern society, at least in the west. It proves beyond
a doubt that the paternalistic system of relations and the
dominance of collectivism over individualism make this teaching
unacceptable for developed democracies. Otherwise, the modern
democracies would need to refuse form a substantial part of
individual freedom obeying to norms and traditions which promote
the preservation of a rigid structure and social hierarch
of society where an individual cannot rebel or be different
from the community and protest against the will of its leaders,
but instead he/she should respect and obey the authorities.