Introduction by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140449716
  • 304 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Mencius was the philosopher whose influence upon ancient Chinese thought was second only to that of Confucius, whose teachings Mencius defended and expanded. The Mencius, in which he recounts his dialogues with kings, dukes, and military men, as well as other philosophers, is one of the four books that make up the essential Confucian corpus. It takes up Confucius’s theories of jen, or goodness, and yi, righteousness, explaining that the individual can achieve harmony with mankind and the universe by perfecting his innate moral nature and acting with benevolence and justice. Mencius’s remarkably modern views on the duties of subjects and their rulers and on the evils of war created a Confucian orthodoxy that has remained intact since the third century BCE.

* An essential text in Confucian thought
* D.C. Lau’s lucid translation has been updated
* The introduction makes illuminating comparisons between Mencius and his contemporaries
* Revised edition includes updated further reading, appendices, a glossary, and notes

Table of Contents

Further Reading


Book I·Part A
Book I·Part B
Book II·Part A
Book II·Part B
Book III·Part A
Book III·Part B
Book IV·Part A
Book IV·Part B
Book V·Part A
Book V·Part B
Book VI·Part A
Book VI·Part B
Book VII·Part A
Book VII·Part B

Aooendix 1: The Dating of Events in the Life of Mencius
Appendix 2: Early Traditions about Mencius
Appendix 3: The Text of the Mencius
Appendix 4: Ancient History as Understood by Mencius
Appendix 5: On Mencius’ Use of the Method of Analogy in Argument
Textual Notes
Glossary of Personal and Place Names

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