Confucian Cultural Values


- Contemporary of Socrates (Ca. 500-400BC) “Confucius” = GONG FU TZU  “The Analects”

- Not a religion, no theistic basis, ethical construct based in preservation of harmony and health of society

- Individual is secondary to the group

- Based in observations (description and interpretation) of ancient Chinese history




1.    Social order and stability are based on unequal relationships among people.

There are 5 basic human relationships, each with specific virtues: Leader and follower (justice and loyalty); father and son (love and closeness); husband and wife (initiative and obedience); older brother and younger brother (friendliness and reverence); friends (mutual faithfulness) - relationships are the models for behavior and the development of virtue. AGE is valued, elders are seen as being the wisest and are venerated - led to ancestor “worship



2.    The family is the prototype for all social organizations.

The roles regarding family relationships and virtues can be expanded to apply to the town, city, and country. Both forceful and yielding elements (yin and yang) are required. One is needed for the other to have meaning. [


3.    Proper social behavior consists of not treating others as you would not want to be treated.

Not the same as the Golden rule, this involves restraint, reflection, and understanding. It does not require good acts, merely the absence of negative ones.

4.    People should be skilled, educated, hardworking, thrifty, modest, patient, and perservering.

Human nature is assumed to be inherently good and each person has the responsibility to improve themselves, regardless of circumstance. The goal is to promote a world at peace where no one needs to govern or be governed.