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Classical Confucian Political ThoughtA New Interpretation$
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Loubna El Amine

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163048

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163048.001.0001

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Rulers and Ministers

Rulers and Ministers

(p.117) Chapter 4 Rulers and Ministers
Classical Confucian Political Thought

Loubna El Amine

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the division of labor between ruler and ministers needed to maintain the Confucian vision of an orderly society, in both its basic and exalted versions. It illustrates the importance of ministers in the Confucian vision of government, especially for Xunzi, who made ministers responsible for the day-to-day business of government. A similar distinction between virtuous kings and hegemons applies in the case of ministers: while sage ministers are favored, meritorious ministers are also accepted. This appreciation of less-than-virtuous ministers reveals Xunzi's concern with political order and his recognition that a basic level of order is all that can be achieved at times. The chapter also revisits the relationship between virtue and government in the Confucian conception of politics.

Keywords:   ministers, rulers, labor division, orderly society, Confucian government, Xunzi, sage ministers, meritorious ministers, virtue

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