China’s Second Sage and the Goodness of Human Nature

The Confucian philosopher Mencius argued that human nature is inherently good.

Image: Portrait of Mencius from Half Portraits of the Great Sage and Virtuous Men of Old (14th century, Anon). Public domain Wikimedia Commons.

“People ain’t no good,” Nick Cave once sang. But the Chinese Confucian philosopher Mencius disagreed. Human beings, Mencius argued, are naturally good, if they are given the chance to cultivate their virtues.