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« The Power of the Afterlife and the Rise of Chinese Philosophy | Main | Ancient Chinese Philosophy in the New York Times »

September 27, 2013


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Sam- Some good points here, but I'm curious why you would say 君 is something "closer to sage." It seems its typical usages are much more mundane than that. See, for example: 儀禮‧喪服》:『君,至尊也。』〈鄭玄〉注:『天子、諸侯及卿大夫有地者,皆曰君。』

Even earlier: 《詩‧大雅‧假樂》:『宜君宜王。』〈孔穎達〉疏:『君則諸侯也。』

臣, of course, is also used as the self-deprecatory first person pronoun in many contexts to denote inferiority to the ruler.

Amusingly, didn't David Brooks have a column last year basically say that Americans need to be better followers and have more respect for their leaders?

Yes, you are correct. The junzi point came to my mind rather late and I quickly added it parenthetically, without thinking it through. "Sage" is too august; I've changed it to "noble-minded," which I think is more accurate. Thanks!

Jun 君
simply means ruler or sovereign, and doesn't suggest "noble-minded" or anything like that. This is what we find in 12.11.

Junzi 君子
originally means "son of ruler" and comes to mean excellent person (by metaphor I suppose, as the son of the ruler is someone qualified to lead).

That is to say, regarding "junzi" -- the word that has something to do with being "noble-minded" -- none of the passages mentioned in the post uses that word.

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