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Confucianism in this entry refers to the Confucian ethics of humor, not Confucian humor or humor with Confucian characteristics. Outlined below, after a brief introduction of Confucianism at large, are major beliefs or assumptions behind Confucian attitude toward humor, Confucian rationale for regulating it, and general precepts of proper humor. As a human, social, and cultural phenomenon, humor raises important philosophical, ethical, and ethnic questions and therefore should be, as indeed has always been, approached from these perspectives as well.

Since the 2nd century BCE, Confucianism— founded by Confucius (551–479 BCE), his contemporary disciples, and their followers—had predominated traditional Chinese thought and permeated premodern China. A sociopolitical and ethical philosophy, it is most concerned with social order, harmony, peace, and moral cultivation. As far as Confucianism ...

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