Saturday, November 7, 2015

415. American Confucian or American Socrates

For John E. Remsburg, Benjamin franklin was an American Socrates. The following statement from Franklin can be used to support John's opinion,  “The perusal of Shaftesbury and Collins had made me a skeptic; and, being previously so as to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates' method to be both the safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those against whom I applied it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practiced it; and became very adroit in obtaining, even from persons of superior understanding, concessions of which they did not foresee the consequence" Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, p. 17)  Clearly, Franklin adopted Socrates method for reasoning and communication.

In moral cultivation, it is more appropriate to say that Franklin was an American Confucian. Through Dr. Dave Wang’s research, we have learned that Franklin loved Confucius moral philosophy since his young age. He organized the youth group to discuss how to improve one’s virtue. He published chapters of Confucius work in 1737. He claimed the Confucius was his example in advancing his and the human beings  virtue in 1749. We have enough reasons to say that Franklin was an American Confucian by 1749.

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