A follower of Confucianism, Mencius argued for the infinite goodness of the individual, believing that it was society's influence—its lack of a positive cultivating influence—which caused bad character. Mencius argued that human beings are born with an innate moral sense which society has corrupted, and that the goal of moral cultivation is to return to one's innate morality.
Mencius' interpretation of Confucianism has generally been considered the orthodox version by subsequent Chinese philosophers. Mencius, a book of his conversations with kings of the time, is one of the Four books which form the core of orthodox Confucian thinking. In contrast to the sayings of Confucius which are short and self-contained, Mencius consists of long dialogues with extensive prose.