Zisi (; c. 481–402 BCE), born Kong Ji (孔伋), was a
Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developmen ...
and the grandson of
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. C ...

Intellectual genealogy, teaching, criticism

Zisi was the son of Kong Li (孔鯉) ( Boyu (伯鱼)) and the only grandson of
Confucius Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; – ) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. C ...
. He is traditionally accredited with transmitting Confucian teaching to
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mèngzǐ (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is, second to Confucius himself. He is part of Confucius' fourth generation of disciple ...
and writing the '' Doctrine of the Mean'', ''Biaoji'' 表記, " Ziyi" (The Black Robes") 緇衣, and "Fangji" (The Record of the Dikes) 坊記, presently chapters of the ''
Liji The ''Book of Rites'', also known as the ''Liji'', is a collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty as they were understood in the Warring States and the early Han periods. The ''Book ...
''. (Since Zisi's dates of life do not overlap with those of Mengzi, it has been suggested that the intermediary role in the transmission was played by Shi Shuo 世碩.) Where his grandfather began to distinguish between true and supposed knowledge, Zisi proceeded upon
meditation Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm ...
s on the relativity in human knowledge of the
universe The universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development of the universe. Acc ...
. He attempted to analyse as many types of action as possible, and believed that wise people who are conscious of their moral and intellectual duties can copy the reality of the universe into themselves. On par with Mencius, Zisi is attacked by Xunzi in his famous "Against Twelve Masters" chapter. The target of Xunzi's attack is the Wuxing teaching. According to Zhang Binglin (1868-1936), Zisi attempted combining Confucian teaching with the principles of numerology. Li Xueqin suggests that it was done under influence of the text presently constituting the "Great Plan" (Hongfan) chapter of the '' Shangshu''. The extant version of the book of the same name is ascribed to Zisi. It was compiled by Wang Zhuo (汪晫 Wāng Zhuó) of the Song dynasty, but not recognized as authentic. The more reliable edition was made by Huang Yizhou (1828-1899), drawing the references from
Shen Yue Shen Yue (; 441–1 May 513), courtesy name Xiuwen (休文), was a Chinese historian, music theorist, poet, and politician born in Huzhou, Zhejiang. He served emperors under the Liu Song Dynasty, the Southern Qi Dynasty (see Yongming poetry), ...
(441-513). According to Huang Yizhou, some aspects of Zisi's thinking are paralleled by the ''
Huainanzi The ''Huainanzi'' is an ancient Chinese text that consists of a collection of essays that resulted from a series of scholarly debates held at the court of Liu An, Prince of Huainan, sometime before 139. The ''Huainanzi'' blends Daoist, Confu ...
''.曹峰, 思孟學派的建構與解構 ——評梁濤《郭店竹簡與思孟學派》

Recent discoveries

* Wuxing (text), a recent archeological discovery providing new insight into Zisi's teaching. *''Duke Mu of Lu Asks Zisi'' 《魯穆公問子思》, a Guodian text relating about the concept of the "loyal minister" 忠臣 through the dialogue between Zisi and the young Duke Mu (d. 377 BCE).

See also

* Zengzi, the purported author of the
Great Learning The ''Great Learning'' or ''Daxue'' was one of the " Four Books" in Confucianism attributed to one of Confucius' disciples, Zengzi. The ''Great Learning'' had come from a chapter in the '' Book of Rites'' which formed one of the Five Classics. ...
. The ''Great Learning'' and Zisi's ''Doctrine of the Mean'', two of the
Four Books The Four Books and Five Classics () are the authoritative books of Confucianism, written in China before 300 BCE. The Four Books and the Five Classics are the most important classics of Chinese Confucianism. Four Books The Four Books () are ...
, constituted the foundation of the Confucian orthodoxy.



* Pan, Fuen
Encyclopedia of China The ''Encyclopedia of China'' () is the first large-entry modern encyclopedia in the Chinese language. The compilation began in 1978. Published by the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House, the encyclopedia was issued one volume at a time, begin ...
'' (Philosophy Edition), 1st ed.

External links

{{wikiquote 480s BC births 402 BC deaths 5th-century BC Chinese philosophers Chinese Confucianists Descendants of Confucius Moral philosophers Philosophers from Lu (state) Zhou dynasty philosophers