Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 9, 2018

Confucian Philosophy

Jinglin Li
Pages 121-134

On the Kingcraft Spirit of Confucianism

The Confucian theory of kingcraft represented a spirit of “moral supremacy”. Confucius and Mencius distinguished “kingcraft” from “rule by force”, which not only emphasized their essential difference at the level of value, but also paid great attention to their relevancy and overlapping of the meaning of existence at the level of being beneficial to society and achievements. The Confucian put emphasis on “justice and humanity” as the highest principle in ethical community, instead of “profit”. Only with morality and justice as the ultimate purpose and the highest principle, can utilitarian successes be purified and can the value as a human being be realized, therefore, constituted the true connotation and internal elements of “kingcraft”. Confucian kingcraft theory can be summarized as: a kind of morality-based principle of the unity of morality-utility. With regard to the principles of international relations, the Confucian kingcraft theory put particular emphasis on the internal unity of the way of heaven, god’s will, benevolent heart, the public opinion, people’s emotions and feelings, and highlighted the transcendental meaning of the principle of moral supremacy. Nowadays, the kingcraft spirit is still of great significance theoretically and practically.