Hsün Tzu and Jean-Paul Sartre Comparison of two Philosophers Essay

Hsün Tzu and Jean-Paul Sartre Comparison of two Philosophers Essay

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Fraud, murder, courage, and strong will are all words that can be linked to humanity. These words will often raise questions like, who did it, how they did it, or why. Can it be that the true answer to these questions lies in getting a better understanding of our human nature? Does man act according to his divine plan, or is he taught how to act? In analyzing the works of Hsün Tzu and Jean-Paul Sartre, I will determine which of these two philosophers offers the strongest foundation for living an ethical life in the modern era.

Hsün Tzu is one of the main founders of eastern philosophy and is considered one of the three great sages in China along with Mencius and Confucious. Tzu’s style of writing is poetic and easy to understand. In his writings, he repeats his main ideas constantly as if he were preaching. This is a style that we can identify as being used also by some of our politicians, teachers, and clergymen to name a few.
Tzu also states that, “ (man’s) goodness is the result of his activity” (198). This means that a man’s actions are what determine the goodness of such a man’s nature. However, Tzu explains that in reality man acts apparently good but only because his actions of goodness are born from selfish reasons. According to Tzu, because man’s nature is evil and his focus is on personal gain, man seeks the gain that comes from doing good. This idea continues to be argued today. One can find people in either side of this debate almost anywhere and anyplace. It is interesting to learn how his views on this matter originated from so long ago.

Tzu explains that in order for men to reach goodness they must be taught the “Way” by the sages. The Way teaches men the path to righteousness and pro...

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...ry to ask himself what the best solution could be that would be acceptable for other men to pursue, or if he does not find an answer within himself, he then could ask someone he deems wiser for his advice, but without trying to blame him for any negative consequences or results. I firmly believe that people could find answers to even the hardest questions in life if they seek every possible outcome and with patience seek help.


Torres Gregory, Wanda, and Donna Giancola. "Part 1: The European Traditions." World Ethics. Eds. Steve Wainwright, Lee McCracken, and Anna Lustig. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage learning, 2002. 142-147. Print.
Torres Gregory, Wanda, and Donna Giancola. "Part 2: The Asian Traditions." World Ethics. Eds. Steve Wainwright, Lee McCracken, and Anna Lustig. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage learning, 2002. 197-202. Print.

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