Throughout much of Chinese history, Mencius (372-289 b.c.) was considered the greatest Confucian thinker after Confucius himself. Following the enshrinement of the Mencius (an edited compilation of his thought by disciples or disciples of disciples) as one of the Four Books by Sung neo-Confucianists, he was studied by all educated Chinese. This study begins a reassessment of Mencius by studying his ethical thinking (how one should live) in relation to that of other early Chinese thinkers, including Confucius, Mo Tzu, the Yangists, and Hsün Tzu. It is the first of three planned studies on Mencius: the second volume will examine the reception and development of Mencian ideas by later thinkers, and the third will be a general philosophical discussion of Confucian ethics.
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