Analects Book 1: on rightness


Rightness (義/) means having the moral disposition to instinctively or spontaneously do the right thing or act in the right way in any given situation. Alternative translations include “righteousness”, “propriety”, “morality”, “appropriateness”, and “what is right”.

The only reference to rightness in Book 1 of the Analects is made by the disciple Youzi in Chapter XIII when he says: “Trustworthiness is close to rightness because it means that your word can be counted on.”

Rightness is explored much more deeply in the second half of the Analects.

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