Is human nature basically good or bad, and why do we even think about this stuff?
It seems to be part of human nature to ask, What is human nature? It is a question that has been common to every people of every age, and has been a preoccupation of religion and philosophy alike. For the Chinese it has been predominantly viewed through the lenses of Confucianism. But, although a dominant Confucian lens emerged, there have been more than just one. The predominant lens was that of the philosopher Mengzi (Mencius) of the fourth century B.C. He was not the founder of Confucianism; that was Kongzi (551-479 B.C.), more popularly known as Confucius in the West. But Mengzi was a self-avowed follower of Kongzi and what he called “The Way”. Perhaps he could be called the “Augustine of Confucianism” in terms of status. As we shall see, however, the two figures had diametrically opposed views on human nature.