The Religion Philosophy of Mencius
Mencius, a famous and respected Confucianism teacher, often argued with other philosophers and statespeople. Similar to other ancient thinkers he often used logic and the power of words to construct his arguments. The analogy was one of his most frequently used techniques for convincing an opponent. Thus, in response to a suggestion that rulers should put effort into working on the land instead of sitting in the throne rooms, Mencius responded with an analogy saying that other craftspeople only make a living by perfecting their skills, therefore, everyone should do their job. He also showed a great deal of incisiveness in developing the arguments so that they are as demonstrative as they are accurate.
For instance, arguing against a fixed price for goods he drew an example of shoes. If good shoes and bad shoes cost equally, no one would make the former. Some of his reasons involve the usage of argument to absurdity. Mencius reduced the meaning to the simplest examples and created other meanings from them. Arguing against the equality of all human beings on the basis of being alive, he mentions that pigs and cows are also living creatures so they can also be considered equal to humans.
As an avid defender of Confucianism, Mencius argued with Yang Zhu using his analogies and vivid examples. Thus, to defend the view that each person is driven by compassion rather than self-interest, he invoked a hypothetical situation when a child is drowning in a pond. As he claims, everyone would at least try to help but out of the sheer will to preserve the life of the other person and not in order to receive gratitude from his parents. Mencius’ ideas of ritual were to a certain extent pragmatic.
The main purpose of ritual according to him was in making people a decent part of society. He argued that when people are concentrated too much on achieving material benefits without attending to their soul their nature becomes similar to animalistic. In that regard, rituals teach people the ways to behave in society, respect others, and know their place in the hierarchy. Rituals and ceremonies explain the nature of relationships between different kinds of people such as kings and their court, father and son, male and female parents. Each of them, according to Mencius has a role, which they are to fulfill.