Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Asian and Pacific Studies (ASPA)

First Advisor

Robin Wang, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Matthew Dillon, Ph.D.


Despite hailing from entirely different backgrounds culturally and politically, the figures of Socrates of Athens and Confucius of Lu present philosophies which have remarkable similarity, given their contextual differences. Considering the fact that these two figures are seen as patriarchs of intellectual inquiry in their respective cultural spheres, examination of the philosophies of these men is of foundational importance to any adequate understanding of human philosophy. This paper relies on Plato's Apology and The Analects as fundamental sources in understanding the beliefs of the men themselves with as little filtering as possible, though when these sources are insufficient for the subject at hand, other ancient sources are used to fill in the gaps where applicable. With such an aim in mind, the massive undertaking of examining the ethics of Confucius and Socrates is first handled by an exploration of the historical and cultural context the men found themselves living in, and then broken down into the subjects of the Ideal Man, Political Ethics, Familial Piety, and Spiritual Ethics, so that the base differences of traditionalism versus innovation can be put into context.