1994.第21卷第2期及第22卷第1期(Vol. 21 No. 2 & Vol. 22 No. 1).pp. 75–85



A Reappraisal and Modern Interpretation of Confucian Theory of Moral Education

李瑞全(Shui-Chuen LEE)




This paper employs Chazan's theoretical framework which he uses for his explication and comparison of modern western theories of moral edueation and gives a modern interpretation of Confucian theory of moral education. The basic tenet of Confucian moral philosophy lies with the recognition of the jen-hsin (the mind of benevolence, or moral conscience) as the origin and ultimate ground of morality. This moral conscience is the practical reason which manifests directly as the conscience of the individual and codified as the fundamental moral principles of a society. The latter carries with it definite contents bearing the specific historical and cultural ground of its time and thus could not avoid the problem of becoming a kind of doctrine. The Confucian solution for this problem is the revoking of the original moral mind. The auxiliary function of theoretical reasoning and knowledge is fully acknowledged but they could not be regarded as sufficient for any moral act by themselves. The commitment of the moral mind is essential. The Confuican morally educated man is the sage and it could be achieved only through various methods for the enlightenment of the individual but not by indoctrination. Lastly, the confucian conceptions of the ethical relationship between teacher and student, and that school as an ethnical community are explored in relation to moral education and as a solution to the externalisation and alienation of teacher and student relation in the modern world.