This chapter explores Mencius’s political ideas, particularly his views of the ruler, the men-of-service (or intellectuals, shi 士), and the commoners. It highlights intrinsic tensions in Mencius’s thought, e.g. between his avowed commitment to the monarchic order (in which the intellectuals like himself should act as the ruler’s servitors) and his staunch belief that intellectuals are morally superior to the rulers and should act as their teachers. Another tension was between Mencius’s insistence on the commoners’ primary importance for the polity and his equally strong opposition to their participation in political life. Tensions and frustrations aside, Mencius succeeded to position himself as the most devoted leader of the Warring States-period men-of-service. This ensured him the lasting role as a source of inspiration for the imperial literati.
|Original language||American English|
|Title of host publication||Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy|
|Publisher||Springer Science and Business Media B.V.|
|Number of pages||22|
|State||Published - 2023|
|Name||Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.