By Leslie Stevenson
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Additional info for Ten Theories of Human Nature, Third edition
A son who does not know how to treat his father will be a very poor citizen. Corrupt individuals, then, who have not cultivated the personal virtue necessary for proper familial relationships spread ill will throughout society. 2). Another problem noted by Confucius is the fact that there is often a difference between what is said and what is done. Confucius said: "I used to take on trust a man's deeds after having listened to his words. 10). Confucius recognizes that people are often untrustworthy.
We simply become differentiated due to our different ways of being. "Men are close to one another by nature. 2). What this means, among other things, is that human beings are extremely malleable. We can become almost anything. We are unfinished and impressible, and in need of constant molding to achieve our ultimate end of moral perfection. In accord with modern sociologists and psychologists, Confucius seems to be suggesting that our environment and ways of being significantly determine our character.
2). In a general sense, then, one's own self becomes a measure of decent conduct. However, Confucius has more 36 THREE ANCIENT RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS to say about the measure of excellent conduct than this. Even if a person's heart is in the right place, it is possible to offend others because of a lack of knowledge about what is appropriate conduct in a particular situation. Knowledge is a key component to ethical action. Specifically for Confucius, this means knowing ritually correct behavior, or the rites (li).