Ancestral name (姓):
Ji (; Pinyin: Jī)
Clan name (氏):
Meng (Ch: 孟; Py: Mèng)
Given name (名):
Ke (Ch: 軻; Py: Kē)
Courtesy name (字):
Posthumous name (謚):
Master Meng the Second Sage (Ch: 亞聖孟子; Py: Yàshèng Mèngzǐ)
Master Meng (Ch: 孟子; Py: Mèngzǐ)
Mencius or Mengzi (; 372 – 289 BC; alt. 385 – 303/302 BC) was a Chinese philosopher who is the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself.
The Mencius (; Old Chinese: *mˤraŋ-s tsəʔ; ) is a collection of anecdotes and conversations of the Confucian thinker and philosopher Mencius on topics in moral and political philosophy. Mencius was a disciple of one of the students of Zisi, a grandson of Confucius, and the Mencius records his travels and audiences with the various rulers of the Warring States period, his students, and his other contemporaries. A number of linguistic and textual clues suggest that the text was not written by Mencius himself but by his disciples, probably during the late 4th century BC.
The Mencius comprises 7 chapters, each divided into two halves, with alternating short sayings and extensive dialogues on specific philosophical arguments. Its fundamental positions, such as Mencius' famous argument in chapter 6A that human nature is inherently good, are usually presented as conversations between Mencius and contemporaneous thinkers, while arguments on specific issues usually appear in records of his advice and counsel to various rulers.
The Mencius was one of the most important texts of early Confucianism, and represents a notable advance over the Analects of Confucius (Lunyu 論語) in terms of sophistication of argument. Notwithstanding its early importance to Confucianism, the Mencius was not canonized as one of the Chinese Classics until over 1000 years later during the Song dynasty.