Single Idea 23398

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature]

Full Idea

Mengzi does not claim that humans are innately good; he claims that human nature is innately good. …He says that 'the heart of compassion' (manifested when anyone sees a child about to fall into a well) is the 'sprout of benevolence'.

Gist of Idea

Human nature is naturally compassionate and good (as a 'sprout'), but people may not be good


report of Mengzi (Mencius) (The Mengzi (Mencius) [c.332 BCE]) by Bryan van Norden - Intro to Classical Chinese Philosophy 6.II

Book Reference

Norden,Bryan van: 'Intro to Classical Chinese Philosophy' [Hackett 2011], p.89

A Reaction

There is a nice distinction here between the 'sprout' of human nature and the finished product. Seeds have the potential to produce tall healthy plants, but circumstances can warp them.