|| As a representative figure of Confucianism, Xunzi’s unique ideology includes vivid discussions on issues in military affairs, human nature, and politics. While Xunzi holds ideas and opinions that separate him from Confucius and Mencius, especially given his unique views on military affairs, he still holds on to some of the fundamental views in Confucianism. Even when faced with the traditions of ren and li, Xunzi is capable of breaking free from conventional Confucianist views on war and propose tactics that reflect his times while still bearing Confucianist characteristics. He esteems and promotes the practical value of ruling by virtue, distinguishing between a virtuous ruler’s and a coercive ruler’s military abilities and emphasizing that only a virtuous ruler can rule the world. Additionally, aside from strengthening the foundation of li and yi, a virtuous must also be proficient in national defense issues in order to establish a well-rounded military system. Xunzi’s unique tactic theory is considerably impressive even when compared to Sun Tzu, who is known as the “master of tactics,” and is on par with professional militarists. This study starts with Xunzi and discusses works that are significant for being representative of their era and works on other schools of thought that are worth referencing, including Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Shang Yang’s The Book of Lord Shang.
This paper contains five chapters, including the introduction (why battle), intrinsic qualities of war (how to battle), war preparation and defense, reflection on war, and the conclusion. Discussion progresses in topics involving the origin of war as well as war preparation and marching tips, which are both crucial to tactics. The paper examines how Xunzi, in troubled times, takes advantage of other theories’ forte and, while still upholding Confucianism, establishes ideologies and strategies that have practical value.