Confucian thought has deeply influenced Asia. Since Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty dismissed the hundred schools of thought two thousand years ago and revered only Confucianism, it has influenced China. Mencius and Xunzi both inherited and expanded upon the discourse of Confucius; however, they have vastly different historical considerations and orientations. In the Song Dynasty, Zhu Xi combined The Analects(Lunyu), Mencius, Great Learning(Daxue), and Doctrine of the Mean(Zhongyong) into The Four Books(Sishu), which became required reading for posterity; however, Zhu Xi did not consider Xunzi, who was also a Confucian scholar. This thesis uses only these concepts for comparison, focusing on “heaven,” (天)“heart,” (心) and “human-nature”(性) to analyze the differences between Mencius and Xunzi, in terms of their thought on “heart and human-nature.”
This paper is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 is the introduction, which explains the research motivation, research path, research scope, and research limitations of this thesis. Chapter 2 is the literature review, divided into explorations of editions of ancient books, as well as contemporary research. In terms of ancient books, the editions of The Analects(Lunyu), Mencius, Xunzi, and Laozi are briefly explained; contemporary research focuses on the “heart and human-nature of Mencius and Xunzi,” from the perspective of contemporary Taiwanese Neo-Confucian scholars, Xu Fuguan(徐復觀) and Mo Zongsan(牟宗三). Chapter 3 is Mencius’s theory of human nature, a principle analysis that explains the close connections between the thoughts of Confucius and Mencius on heart and human-nature. Chapter 4 is Xunzi’s theory of human nature, which explains that Xunzi’s thoughts diverge from the heart and human- nature of Confucius and Mencius. Xunzi was a Confucian scholars at the end of the Warring States period, and his thoughts exhibited diversity. In this chapter, analysis of the heart and human-nature of Xunzi use the influence of the thoughts of Laozi and Gaozi to explain the principle analysis. Chapter 5 is a comparison between theories on human nature by Mencius and Xunzi, which center on the discourse of contemporary Neo-Confucian scholars, Xu Fuguan and Mo Zongsan, on the “heart and human-nature of Mencius and Xunzi,” to compositely compare the differences in the heart and human-nature of Mencius and Xunzi. Chapter 6 is the conclusion, which reviews and summarizes the thesis.