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Self and Community in the Xunzi

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This paper investigates Xunzi’s ideas on self and community. According to Xunzi, the origin of Confucian rituals lies in the need to nourish human desires. However, this nourishment is more than the simple satisfaction of desire. Rather, in the development of rituals, desires are evaluated and directed according to the overall good of a person in order that the person can actively pursue fulfilment and self-realization. If human beings are controlled by momentary desires, they live like beasts and cannot act as autonomous agents. Confucian rituals constitute a normative framework for human life and desires. Following Xunzi, this normative framework is based on a cultural and collective interpretation of our own nature. Through Confucian rituals a person can not only satisfy desires properly, but can also enjoy human relationships within the community. Most importantly, it is through these Confucian rituals that a person realizes himself as an agent who can control and direct his own life.

10.3868/s030-001-012-0027-4
/content/journals/10.3868/s030-001-012-0027-4
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/content/journals/10.3868/s030-001-012-0027-4
2012-01-01
2016-12-03

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