The ethics of Confucius vs SocratesI am in desperate need of help. I am trying to compare the ethics and philosophies of Confucius and Socrates. I am also looking for good credible online sources...

The ethics of Confucius vs Socrates

I am in desperate need of help. I am trying to compare the ethics and philosophies of Confucius and Socrates. I am also looking for good credible online sources on the subject. If anyone knows of a good place to start I would appreciate it. Thank you.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If what you actually want is a source that compares the two philosophers side by side, so to speak, there are several places that might give you a start. Assuming you have access to JSTOR through your university library membership, you might read the 1971 article "Socrates and Confucius: Moral agents or moral philosophers?" by G. H. Mabood of The Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The volume The Beginning of Ethics: Confucius and Socrates by Jiyuan Yu and published by Routledge Press (2005) might be useful; it may be purchased and downloaded online. eNotes gives you access to a Wikipedia article on "Golden Mean (in Philiosophy)". Finally, Jiyuan Yu authored the book The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue, Routledge Press (2007), that may be a good comparative contrast and is probably available through your university library. For other options, try seraching with the keyword phrase { confucius+socrates+ethics }.

maadhav19 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A place where you might start comparing them are their views on the relationship between the individual and society. For both, there was a sense that the individual's needs were subordinate to order and harmony in the state. Socrates was condemned to death for reasons such as "corrupting the youth of Athens;" given a chance to escape execution, he turned it down. His reasoning was that the city had protected him all his life with its order, and he had no right now to distort that order just to preserve his life. Similarly, the aims of Confucius were to promote a harmonious and orderly society, through the moral reform of the individual.

Both thinkers advocated a hierarchy as well. As shown in the Republic, Socrates outlines the idea that people should be divided into classes based on their aptitudes, and that what is just is that everyone performs their duty. Confucian thinking outlined a system of five relationships in which each member has certain obligations. The subject should be subordinate to the ruler, the younger to the elder, and so on. So another similarity is a system of hierarchies and duties associated with them to keep order in society.

Finally, much could be made of the emphasis on education in both. For Confucius, education was a means toward moral cultivation. Similarly, Socrates advocated education to measure the aptitudes of individuals and train them in their duties.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only place that I have found where you can get an actual comparison of the ideas of these two philosophers is at this link:

For good, involved discussions of each man's philosophies, you could follow these two links.

These links do not, however, actually compare the two in the way that the first link does.


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have found another site that offers a comparison between Confucius and Socrates that might be useful:

There are other sites that offer essays that you need to pay for, but I would always be wary of doing that. Start of with this website and see how you do. You might find it useful as you compile information to draw a Venn diagram to help organise your thoughts. Good luck!

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
You can use enotes to get information on each scholar. Rather than searching for sources that do the comparing, I think it might be better to read up on each and then make your own comparisons. You might come to the same conclusions, but you Mitty reach some fresh ones. and for Socrates. For Confucius, .
kateew | Student

Thank you. I am not interested in paying for a paper; I enjoy researching and writing my own thank you for the research lead.

kateew | Student

thank you, that was what I was looking for I think.