A Mou Zongsan's criticism of Xunzi: 'Morality is external'

Bedel B.

ASIAN PHILOSOPHY, vol.33, no.1, pp.1-14, 2023 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 33 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09552367.2022.2162194
  • Journal Name: ASIAN PHILOSOPHY
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, Periodicals Index Online, ATLA Religion Database, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Philosopher's Index, Religion and Philosophy Collection
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-14
  • Keywords: Chinese philosophy, Xunzi studies, ethics, Chinese rituals
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Xunzi lived at the end of the Warring States period (480/403-222 B.C.) of China. He sought solutions to the problems of social and political life, and the management theories he put forward constituted his primary system of thoughts. Xunzi saw a connection between politics and morality and embodied this connection with the concept of rituals. Unlike the thinkers, such as Confucius and Mengzi, who found the basis of morality in Tian (sic) (nature), Xunzi brought a new interpretation to the creation process of rituals and morality within the framework of conscious activity. This paper focuses on the creation of rituals and the basis of morality. It interprets Mou Zongsan's criticism of Xunzi: 'morality is external'. By showing the relationship between human nature, Tian, and rituals, I will argue whether morality is 'internal' or 'external' to humans in Xunzi's thoughts.