Confucius and Socrates Compared
Confucius and Socrates were brilliant philosopher’s that had tremendous influence during historical periods that were marked by significant social change. Their writing techniques showed that both philosopher’s primary used a conversational method to explore thoughts and theories. Confucius expected his students to put forth great effort in his conversations by stimulating them with thought provoking statements and open ended questions. Socrates, on the other hand, rarely used open ended questions and usually only required his students to answer his myriad of questions.
Both philosopher’s utilized metaphors as well as analogies to make their points more understandable. Although both philosopher’s were primary concerned with ethical thought and in most respects their ethical values and goals were quite similar there is a major difference in their concepts about the nature of ethics.
Confucius’ ethical and philosophical system was named Confucianism. The Confucian ethic doesn’t depend on logic for its basis; rather Confucians believe the finished product determines success or failure. The core of Confucianism is humanistic and rests on the belief that humans are teachable, improvable, and perfectible through self-cultivation.
In the famous and influential work The Analects, Confucius asks questions -many of them rhetorical - and introduces analogies, in order to guide his students to their own answers. The Analects consists of disconnected conversations between Confucius and his students that provoked analysis of morality and the role of government. According to Confucius, to lead people you needed to lead by example. Confucius reinforces this idea with an analogy; “One who rules through the power of Virtue is analogous to the Pole Star: it simply remains in its place and receives the homage of the myriad lesser stars.”(Analects 2.1) Another great example of Confucius illustrating this same point; “If you try to...