Abstract

The ideology about the relation between goodness and beauty for Confucius and the early Confucians is the continuation of the aesthetic tradition long before Confucius’s time, which sees more value in Yuejiao, namely, music/beauty education, than in Lijiao, Moral education. No doubt Confucius’s aesthetic idea is featured as the juxtaposition of Li and Yue, goodness and beauty. But we must not forget that Confucius, taking himself as a preserver of the sages’ tradition, personally values Yue (music/beauty) over Li (ritual/moral). It is in this context that we argue that taking the unity of beauty and goodness as a Confucian aesthetic feature is a misinterpretation of his teaching and is poles apart from the ancient Chinese aesthetic tradition and from Confucius’ aesthetics.

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