Roger Ames observes that what is usually associated with Confucius is a view of the world shared by others Chinese thinkers. For this reason, he ask why we should called it Confucianism rather than Chineseness (Roger T. 2002). In my opinion, Confucianism may be associated with the figure of jūnzǐ 君子 that may be compared with the philosopher. Why do I think that this comparison is pertinent? The jūnzǐ 君子 and philosopher embody the ideals of the person who should lead the society and defend it from deceivers skilled in persuasion. One of the core qualities of both was the way of speaking. Both of them must be persuasive to let their ideals prevail over teachings based on deceiving that lead the society to the chaos.
In ancient Greece there were two disciplines related with persuasion: oratory and rhetoric. The first were the speeches of famous persuaders and the second were treatises of speaking. As Xing Lu states (Lu 1998), there is not a specific term for rhetoric understood as literary gender. However, in principal Schools of thought there are texts with many reflexions on rhetoric as can be seem in the mentioned book of Lu Xing. She also did an analysis of the historical documents as Shan Shu 尚書, Guo Yu 國語, Zuo Zhuan 左傳 and Zhan Guo Ce 戰國策 that transmits speeches of rulers and ministers (Lu 1998 pp.) I consider that the last of these, the Zhan Guo Ce 戰國策, is a valuable source of rhetoric.
As its names indicates, the Zhan Guo Ce 戰國策 is a book composed by cè 策 of the Warring States zhànguó 戰國. What is cè 策 means? The original meaning of cè 策 is whip for the houses. In a figurative sense, it refers to the way by that the ruler can lead a mass of people for a purpose, for example, to attack an enemy. For this reason, it is usually translated as « strategies». The protagonists of this book are know are person who were usually successful in persuading a ruler by giving him a cè 策. That is, a way of leading a country successfully. According to Liu Xiang, the plans of them were very useful to save the army from critical situations bīnggé jiùjízhī shì 兵革救急之勢 but the were not suitable to educate a country lín guó jiàohuà 臨國教化. These persuaders of the Zhan Guo Ce were classified by posterity in the category of School of Zongheng zònghéng jiā 縱橫家.
In sum, the philosophers in Ancient Greece were defined in opposition to the sophists. Philosophers seek to truth even if it can cause him troubles. The Sophists are seemed as persuaders who teach other how to lie in order to get their own benefit. In the same way, in ancients texts the jūnzǐ 君子’s way of addressing the ruler was opposed to the way of the people of zònghéng jiā 縱橫家, also known with names as yóushì 游士 or nìngrén 佞人, all of them are kind of xiǎorén 小人, the people that embodies the opposite features of jūnzǐ 君子. The jūnzǐ seeks the righteousness yì 義 when they persuade the ruler. By contrast the yóushì seeks the benefit lì 利 and do not care to harm others if it is necessary.
Lu, X., 1998. Rhetoric in Ancient China , fifth to third century B . C . E, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
Roger T., A., 2002. Thinking through Comparisons: Analytical and Narrative Methods for Cultural Understanding. In S. Shankman & D. Stephen, eds. Early China/ancient Greece : thinking through comparisons. Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 93–110.