Confucian Theory of “Righteousness above Family Loyalty” and Case Study

Project: Research project

Project Details


The source of “righteousness above family loyalty” is from “Zuo Zhuan” (Zuo’s Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals), which means that when the personal family ethics conflict with the public interests, the value of family ethics should be abdicated and give priority to the protection of public interests. However, in the core Confucian classics such as “The Analects of Confucius” and “Menzi”, Confucius and Mencius more often emphasized the concepts of “distance and respect” and “system of relatives hidden”, but did not directly advocate the “righteousness above family loyalty”. Therefore, did the original Confucianism really advocate the “righteousness above family loyalty”? How do the later generations of Confucianism view and practice the “righteousness above family loyalty”? It is the main research topic of this project. In terms of the study time limit, it was from the pre-Qin period to the Ming and Qing dynasties, to examine the Confucian representatives and related documents, through the historical linear survey, it shall observe the similarities and differences of Confucian ideas in different periods. In terms of the research scope, it is divided into two parts: “theoretical construction” and “case analysis”. On the one hand, through the theoretical review of Confucian ethical connotation, it makes a qualitative and evaluation of the proposition; on the other hand, through the case study, it examines whether there is difference between the theory and practice of the “righteousness above family loyalty”; If there is difference, what is the reason? And the case is as the theoretical supplement, modification and change basis. Finally, in terms of the research value, the thoughts of “righteousness above family loyalty”, “distance and respect” and “system of relatives hidden” all belong to the three major problems of Confucian ethics, mainly dealing with the conflict between the “personal moral obligation” and the “public moral obligation”. The latter two have accumulated rich research results, and only the “righteousness above family loyalty” is rarely studied, so the important work of this project is to fill this blank, and then to examine whether the Confucian ethics have modern rationality and practice possibility, which also reflects the Confucianism characteristics of “endless succession” and “daily renewal”.
Effective start/end date20-08-0121-07-31


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