The Philosophy of Xunzi sheds light on the teachings of a disciplined thinker who contradicted conventional schools of Confucian thought. Living in a time of great instability and discord, Xunzi came to believe that man’s desires, if left unchecked, would lead to ruin, and so advocated a system of strict societal controls. His best-known disciple took a more extreme stance, likely coloring history’s view of Xunzi. This new examination of his complex, sometimes harsh ideas, uncovers a deeper humanity and a restrained optimism in his writings, giving them new relevance for present-day Confucians and Western thinkers.
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