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A comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates

For ordering information, please click here. Summary Having examined the details of the lives and educational work of Confucius and Socrates, let us now summarize the main points of each chapter and examine the similarities and differences between them. Life and Deeds Both Confucius and Socrates lived in cultures where hereditary privilege was the main factor in social status. Neither of them was extremely high-born, but they certainly were not peasants either.

Confucius as one of the many lower aristocrats was just high enough where he would be considered as a possible official in the government, but a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates high enough so that he was automatically given a position.

Due to his economic circumstances he spent some time working a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates his hands and in business. Socrates was a citizen, but neither was he related to a ruling family.

He probably worked as a stone-mason; he fought in battle not as an officer, but as a citizen soldier. Both apparently received an education as they became very familiar with the literature and music of their cultures. It is doubtful they could have become the educators they did, if they had not been born in circumstances where they could be educated.

Neither one seemed to have an especially significant teacher, but they both related to an ideal pattern, sometimes exemplified by the ancients. Their admiration for the classical writings of their cultures and their extensive knowledge of them indicates deep and prolonged study.

Confucius spent some time playing music, and Socrates set some fables to music while in prison due to guidance from a dream. Their not having been in the highest class probably was a major factor in preventing an active and powerful political life. Socrates intentionally stayed out of politics due to his spiritual guidance, but did become an advisor and teacher to some who did engage in political leadership.

Similarly Confucius although he tried to become politically effective, served mainly as an advisor and educator of politicians. However, his efforts in this area did make Confucius more involved in government than Socrates' incidental services as a citizen. Both men were attracted to the human culture of city life, although Confucius did travel around, while Socrates did not. They both were most interested in relating with people.

We know very little about the younger years of either of them, but by middle age they each had attracted a group of students around them.

Socrates claims he never accepted money; but either he must have accepted minimal gifts to live on or he had an independent income, because he spent all his days in conversation.

Confucius accepted gifts and had a group of regular students, but there is no indication that he used his teaching to become wealthy. In fact both of them were open to discussing ideas with any one who bothered to come a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates them.

Both of them appeared to be inexhaustible in their efforts to pursue wisdom; there is no record of anyone a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates them in this persistence. Perhaps the key event in both their lives was when they realized their divine mission. Confucius said he was fifty when he knew the will of Heaven. Socrates does not say when the Delphic oracle made its famous pronouncement which stimulated his quest for a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates wise man, but it is likely that it was in his forties.

In both cases, most of what we know about these two men occurred after this turning point in their lives.

This sense of their mission and divine-appointed destiny must have strengthened their purpose considerably. Because of this relationship with the divine or a higher power, neither of them seemed to have any fear of death or anything else.

A Comparison of Socrates and Confucius.

Neither Confucius nor Socrates would do something they considered to be unjust even if they were being intimidated by threats. Their actions were strictly regulated by their rational or intuitive evaluation of what was right.

Confucius died a natural death at seventy-two, while Socrates was martyred at seventy, but both accepted death a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates. Manner and Attitudes Confucius was polite, cordial, and deferential. His humility was sincere, and most people seemed to get along with him rather easily.

He was friendly and had a good sense of humor. Socrates also was friendly and perhaps even more humorous. However, his attitude of modesty was perceived as being ironic by most people who probably felt the power of his ego even though he tried to be self-effacing.

Confucius made courtesy a fine art in his respect for human beings, whereas Socrates was only able to temper his straightforwardness by means of the irony. Neither one claimed to be wise. Although Confucius was temperate and self-disciplined, Socrates took these qualities farther into a more ascetic life-style. However, they both loved relating with people and delighted in company. They both were very open to all types of people and expressed a deep concern for individuals and for humanity.

It would be hard to find anyone who loved to learn more than Confucius and Socrates. They turned every situation in which they found themselves into an exploration of some topic. Their perseverance in pursing wisdom and education seemed continual and enduring.

They were always open to questions and examined any idea which would a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates they did not allow any belief which they may have had to dogmatically block them from considering another idea.

Along with this openness, they were also scrupulously a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates in presenting their own ideas. They certainly were not afraid of speaking their criticisms to others. Although they both were cheerful and friendly, they were remarkably unemotional. Neither one of them allowed himself to become a victim of fear or anger or jealousy or resentment.

Somehow, perhaps due to their philosophic minds, they were able to handle criticism, threats, mockery, and abuse with such understanding that they were not perturbed by it at all.

Their attitudes remained remarkably positive. Even though they were often judged to be failures by the world, neither one of a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates ever was known to become depressed or unhappy. There always seemed to be a joy and enthusiasm with Confucius and an even-temperedness with Socrates.

Even when criticizing what they did not like, their attitudes seemed to remain neutral. Although they both were humanistic in their concern to help people improve themselves, they both based their purpose on faith in a higher power. This even takes on a mystical quality as they a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates that their work was fulfilling the will of Heaven in the case of Confucius, and serving God in the case of Socrates.

Their sense of divine mission gave them each an inner strength which was unshakable. They both also believed in various ways of communicating with the divine or higher intelligence.

Confucius used the oracle of Changes, and Socrates based his mission on the oracle of Apollo. Both felt they gained useful communication from their dreams, and they were aware of natural portents. Socrates related very closely with the other world and the legendary heroes, while Confucius based his cultural ideals on the ancient pattern and especially the Duke of Zhou. Socrates' guiding spirit was a communication developed to a rather unique level, but they both believed in the power and importance of prayer.

The reason why neither one claimed to be wise probably was because they both knew the divine wisdom was far greater than theirs.

Neither one cared much for pretense as each one was offered a better suit of clothes to die in by one of their disciples, but they both politely refused to change their life-style at that point.

Neither of them was afraid of death, as they both peacefully accepted it.

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Style and Methods Both Confucius and Socrates taught rather informally and used primarily a conversational method. They both were open to listening to anyone, but often they would advise the person to seek out someone with more expertise in a particular area such as farming or gardening. Socrates often began with a prayer for divine guidance and occasionally found himself inspired. Confucius was willing to accept anyone who a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates himself before he came to him.

Confucius expected his students to make some effort if he was to help them. Socrates usually only required that they answer his questions. Naturally both of them were more enthusiastic when dealing with those who were more intelligent. They a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates encouraged everyone to learn and work on improving themselves and presented various reasons and arguments to exhort them in this direction.

Both Confucius and Socrates maintained an atmosphere of friendship and even camaraderie. Their cheerfulness, enthusiasm, and humor gave the discussions a positive feeling that was uplifting. They demonstrated not only intellectual subtlety but also sensitivity toward the feelings of others. They both were good listeners.

Classical Traditions of Education: Socrates and Confucius

It was natural that they would individualize their instruction, since rarely if ever did they have a large group. Many of their conversations with a single person were counseling sessions on personal problems or specific goals of the person. Often Confucius and Socrates were not concerned with formulating a universal truth but rather were attempting to help a person find an answer which was suitable to him. Different personalities called for different approaches. Socrates with his method of questioning was particularly successful at drawing out people and revealing to them their particular internal contradictions or weaknesses which needed correction or improvement.

Confucius often would merely point it a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates directly; however, he would usually do it in a way which would stimulate the positive direction. Neither one was afraid to be candid in his criticism. Confucius would often enlighten his students by his answers to their questions.


Occasionally he would stimulate their thinking by asking open-ended questions so they could discuss with each other various a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates answers.

Socrates, on the other hand, rarely asked open-ended questions, and unless requested to do so did not really prefer to have to answer questions put to him. His chief method, of course, was to ask a series of questions in such as way as to thoroughly test the person's knowledge of the subject. In this way he did not have to preach or lecture, but could examine the person's awareness itself. This gave the answerer freedom of choice and enabled him to be active rather than passive in the discussion, although it is not as free and active as open-ended questioning.

Yet Socrates could work very specifically on clarifying the person's responses. This philosophical a comparison between the philosophies of confucius and socrates was designed to assist the person in bringing forth their own understanding and knowledge. If their understanding was not clear and organized in their mind, this process of testing would reveal the errors to them.

In the refutation and dialectical methods Socrates surpasses Confucius in his ability to reason. Confucius seemed to rely almost exclusively on his intuition. However, most of his intuitions were so perceptive that they proved to be accurate and workable for many people. Neither Confucius nor Socrates were poets, but they both used metaphors and analogies as pedagogical tools to make their points more understandable.