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It can certainly be used as a method of social control, by encouraging ordinary people to accept their position at the bottom of the heap, subject to governance by the higher classes.
It helps to have a concrete example in mind.
Nor does this reasoning only prove, that morality consists not in any relations, that are the objects of science; but if examin'd, will prove with equal certainty, that it consists not in any , which can be discover'd by the understanding.
The character for "artisans," , can mean "labor," but artisans, responsible for wonders like porcelain and silk weaving, would never be considered mere laborers.
The History of King Richard III, c. 1513-1518
If propriety is not fully a matter of ethics, but a kind of art, this would effect a compromise between Taoism and Confucianism, retaining a place of importance for it, while exempting it from the "persuasion by force" that to Taoism was the "beginning of disorder ."Despite all these virtues, actions, and arts, we are still missing an important Confucian moral quality.
The Dialogue Concerning Heresies, 1529
We don't get a group anything like this in the West, and the only comparable example I can think of that involves the appearance of a beautiful woman is when the mistress of the Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus, Maria Scleraena, was .
A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, 1534
The character here for "action" we have seen already as "conduct" among the "four studies."Next, with the "six arts," we mostly get things that are extra-ethical skills, even two martial arts (archery and charioteering), but they lead off with propriety, , which is not only a significant Confucian virtue, but one of the "five virtues" and "four principles." This is an interesting and perhaps revealing choice.
The Sadness of Christ, 1535 (Mary Basset's 1557 Translation)
On the other hand, in 33 BC Wang Chao-chün was married off to leaders of the Hsiung-nu and was credited with moderating their policy towards China and in introducing them to Chinese civilization.
English Poems, c. 1496-1504, 1535
The character for "study," , can also mean "teaching," "doctrine," "religion," etc., as discussed with the .
With the "six virtues," we get four that are the same as the "five virtues," with the substitution of "wisdom" for "knowledge" as in the "four principles," and a trade-off of "propriety" for "good faith." "Moderation" and "harmony" are new.
As we will later notice, Aristotle had .
The radical version says that whatever a sovereign or ruling power has established is indeed just: Hitler's Nürnberg laws, and Stalin's codes, and the American Constitution -- all are equally just.