The Four Beginnings of Confucianism

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

Confucianism is a philosophical tradition in which human beings are seen as naturally good or at least potentially so. From the teachings of Mencius, we learn that people are born with the knowledge of the good, and so the ability to do good is inherent in us. This ability grows upon what Mencius described as the 'four beginnings' of virtue described below in PAEI order:

P – Compassion (giving rise to benevolence)
A – Shame, dislike (the basis of righteousness)
E – Distinguishing right from wrong (the basis for wisdom)
I – Modesty, deference (giving rise to respect/courtesy)

This is an I-heavy schema, and the value represented for P in the above list is actually an I value that has a tempering or moderating effect on P. P may also be assimilated to a certain degree by the context for articulating these ideas, which is part of a larger philosophical project of explaining how the universe works.

The four beginnings of Confucianism were centrally implicated in the Four-Seven debate, which was the pre-eminent intellectual achievement of Korean Neo-Confucianism.

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