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Mencius, detail, ink and colour on silk; in the National Palace Museum, Taipei—Courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
(born c. 372died c. 289 BC) Chinese philosopher. The book Mencius contains statements on innate human goodness, a topic warmly debated by followers of Confucius up to modern times. That the four principles (si duan)the feelings of commiseration, shame, courtesy, and right and wrongare all inborn in humans was a self-evident truth to Mencius; the four principles, when properly cultivated, will develop into the four cardinal virtues of ren (benevolence), righteousness, decorum, and wisdom. His development of orthodox Confucianism earned him the title second sage.
Variants of MENCIUS
Mencius Chinese Mengzi or Meng-tzu orig. Meng K'o
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Mencius, visit Britannica.com.