Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

Get access

(5,047 words)

From a historical and sociological point of view, and depending on the respective school of thought, Chinese ethics (lunlixue) presents a very diverse picture. In a theoretically elaborated form it evolved since the middle of the first millennium BCE. Its precursors were, among others, archaic ideas of mutuality; the principle of "virtue" (de) which stood at the center of the heavenly religion of the early Zhou and against which rulers were measured; first challenges of particularism; and, in legal practice, some at least partially respected prin…

Cite this page
Roetz, Heiner, “Ethics”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

▲   Back to top   ▲