Chinese Philosophy

Edited by JeeLoo Liu (California State University, Fullerton)
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  1. The Virtues of Intimate Relationships.Sungwoo Um - 2019 - Dissertation, Duke University
    My dissertation aims to shed light on the importance and distinctive nature of intimate relationships such as parent-child relationship and friendship by developing my own version of a virtue-ethical approach. -/- In Chapter 1, I critically examine important contemporary Western theories of filial piety and argue that they do not adequately capture the nature of a desirable parent-child relationship and filial piety. -/- In Chapter 2, I show why the duty-centered approach to filial piety is inadequate focusing on why it (...)
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  2. Makeham, John, Ed., Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy.Deborah A. Sommer - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (2):283-287.
    This volume includes nineteen articles by scholars from Asia, North America, and Europe on Chinese thinkers from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. Included here are intellectual biographies of literati such as Zhou Dunyi, the Cheng brothers, Zhu Xi, Zhang Shi, Hu Hong, Wang Yangming, and Dai Zhen. Essays are arranged chronologically, and most begin with a biographical sketch of their subject. They provide variety rather than uniformity of approach, but all in all these essays are remarkably rich and offer (...)
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  3. Chai, David, Zhuangzi and the Becoming of Nothingness.Eric S. Nelson - 2019 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 18 (2):291-294.
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  4. A Confucian Slippery Slope Argument.Michael Harrington - 2017 - Confucian Academy: Chinese Thought and Culture Review 4 (1):89-101.
    The Song and Ming dynasty Confucians make frequent use of what would today be identified as a slippery slope argument. The Book of Changes and its early commentaries provide both the language and the rationale for this argument, inasmuch as the Confucians regard these texts as a method for identifying tiny problems that will one day threaten the state. While today the slippery slope argument is often criticized for promoting an unreasoned resistance to change, a close look at its use (...)
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  5. Introduction: Hegel, Difference, Multiplicity.Eric S. Nelson - 2017 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 44 (3-4):121-126.
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  6. Moral Advance and Moral Risk -- A Mengzian Reflection.L. K. Gustin Law - forthcoming - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy.
    On one view of moral development, someone not yet virtuous can reliably progress by engaging in what meaningfully resembles virtuous conduct. However, one may also morally degrade from such an attempt precisely because of the way in which one's character still falls short of virtue. This risk of degradation casts doubt on the developmental view. I counter the doubt by refining the developmental view through interpretation and application of the Mengzi. In passage 2A2, invoking the image of a farmer who (...)
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  7. On Delight: Thoughts for Tomorrow.Claudia Westermann - 2018 - Technoetic Arts 16 (1):43-51.
    The article introduces the problematics of the classical two-valued logic on which Western thought is generally based, outlining that under the conditions of its logical assumptions the subject I is situated in a world that it cannot address. In this context, the article outlines a short history of cybernetics and the shift from first- to second-order cybernetics. The basic principles of Gordon Pask’s 1976 Conversation Theory are introduced. It is argued that this second-order theory grants agency to others through a (...)
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  8. Chung‐Ying Cheng: Creativity, Onto‐Generative Hermeneutics, and the Yijing.Eric Nelson - 2016 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 43 (1-2):124-135.
    The hermeneutical dimensions of Chinese philosophy from the Changes of Zhou through its Confucian, Daoist, and contemporary developments have been a creative inspirational source and guiding intellectual thread in the thought of Chung-ying Cheng. Cheng's extensive engagement with the Classic of Changes, its role in the formation of the Chinese philosophical tradition and its comparative interconnections with occidental philosophies, has disclosed its deep hermeneutical orientation. The Yijing encompasses processes of empirical observation, empathetic feeling, and self-reflection in the generation of “images,” (...)
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  9. Review of Erfahrungen des ki. Leibessphäre, Atmosphäre, Pansphäre. [REVIEW]Leon Krings - 2017 - European Journal of Japanese Philosophy 2:333-336.
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  10. Kelleher, M. Theresa, Trans., The Journal of Wu Yubi: The Path to Sagehood. [REVIEW]Bryan Norden - 2015 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (3):459-462.
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  11. Confucianism, Puritanism, and the Transcendental: China and America.Thorsten Botz-Bornstein - 2011 - ProtoSociology 28:153-172.
    Max Weber examined Chinese society and European Puritanism at the beginning of the Twentieth Century in order to find out why capitalism did not develop in China. He found that Confucianism and Puritanism are mutually exclusive, which enabled him to oppose both in the form of two different kinds of rationalism. I attempt neither to refute nor to confirm the Weberian thought model. Instead I show that a similar model applies to Jean Baudrillard’s vision of American culture, a culture that (...)
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  12. Seek and You Will Find It; Let Go and You Will Lose It: Exploring a Confucian Approach to Human Dignity.Peimin Ni - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (2):173-198.
    While the concept of Menschenwürde (universal human dignity) has served as the foundation for human rights, it is absent in the Confucian tradition. However, this does not mean that Confucianism has no resources for a broadly construed notion of human dignity. Beginning with two underlying dilemmas in the notion of Menschenwürde and explaining how Confucianism is able to avoid them, this essay articulates numerous unique features of a Confucian account of human dignity, and shows that the Confucian account goes beyond (...)
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  13. Philosophy and Religion in Early Medieval China Ed. By Alan K. L. Chan and Yuet-Keung Lo (Review).James D. Sellmann - 2013 - Philosophy East and West 63 (3):451-455.
    The Early Han enjoyed some prosperity while it struggled with centralization and political control of the kingdom. The Later Han was plagued by the court intrigue, corrupt eunuchs, and massive flooding of the Yellow River that eventually culminated in popular uprisings that led to the demise of the dynasty. The period that followed was a renewed warring states period that likewise stimulated a rebirth of philosophical and religious debate, growth, and innovations. Alan K. L. Chan and Yuet-Keung Lo's Philosophy and (...)
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Classical Chinese Philosophy
  1. Supernatural, Social, and Self-Monitoring in the Scaling Up of Chinese Civilization.Hagop Sarkissian - 2015 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 5 (4):323-327.
    An invited commentary on Ara Norenzayan's Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict, focusing on whether early China constitutes an exception to his general theory.
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  2. Confucius and the Superorganism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2018 - In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, NY, USA: pp. 305-320.
    In this paper, I describe a sense of oneness that, while having its roots in a tradition of thought far removed from our own, might nonetheless be of relevance to persons today. It is not a oneness with all of humanity, let alone with all the creatures under the sky or all the elements of the cosmos. Nevertheless, it is a sense of oneness that transcends one’s own person and connects one to a larger whole. I will be calling this (...)
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  3. Quantum Gravity and Taoist Cosmology: Exploring the Ancient Origins of Phenomenological String Theory.Steven M. Rosen - 2017 - Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 131:34-60.
    In the author’s previous contribution to this journal (Rosen 2015), a phenomenological string theory was proposed based on qualitative topology and hypercomplex numbers. The current paper takes this further by delving into the ancient Chinese origin of phenomenological string theory. First, we discover a connection between the Klein bottle, which is crucial to the theory, and the Ho-t’u, a Chinese number archetype central to Taoist cosmology. The two structures are seen to mirror each other in expressing the psychophysical (phenomenological) action (...)
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  4. Wittgenstein and the Analects on the Ethics of Clarification.Thomas D. Carroll - 2016 - Philosophy East and West 66 (4):1148-1167.
    At first glance, it might seem an odd pairing: the Analects and Wittgenstein. Comparison between a classical Chinese philosophical text, whose primary topics were the cultivation of xiao and he, and the corpus of an early to mid-twentieth-century Austrian philosopher, whose primary topics had to do with logic, language, and the nature of philosophy, does not obviously recommend itself. Yet, I contend in this article that there is much to be gained from careful comparison between these two very different pictures (...)
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  5. On the Ancient Idea That Music Shapes Character.James Harold - 2016 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (3):341-354.
    Ancient Chinese and Greek thinkers alike were preoccupied with the moral value of music; they distinguished between good and bad music by looking at the music’s effect on moral character. The idea can be understood in terms of two closely related questions. Does music have the power to affect the ethical character of either listener or performer? If it does, is it better as music for doing so? I argue that an affirmative answers to both questions are more plausible than (...)
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  6. Principles, Virtues, or Detachment? Some Appreciative Reflections on Karen Stohr’s On Manners.Bryan W. Van Norden - 2016 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (2):227-239.
    Karen Stohr’s book On Manners argues persuasively that rules of etiquette, though conventional, play an essential moral role, because they “serve as vehicles through which we express important moral values like respect and consideration for the needs, ideas, and opinions of others”. Stohr frequently invokes Kantian concepts and principles in order to make her point. In Part 2 of this essay, I shall argue that the significance of etiquette is better understood using a virtue ethics framework, like that of Confucianism, (...)
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  7. Confucian Family-State and Women: A Proposal for Confucian Feminism.Ranjoo S. Herr - 2014 - In Ashley Butnor & Jen McWeeny (eds.), Liberating Traditions: Essays in Feminist Comparative Philosophy. New York, USA: Columbia University Press. pp. 261–282.
    I shall argue that, with a proper realignment of core Confucian values, an explicitly feminist reading of Confucianism—a conception of Confucian feminism—could be constructed to promote the feminist goal of gender equality in contemporary Confucian societies. My paper proceeds in the following order: first, I shall identify two aspects of Confucianism implicated in the Confucian subjugation of women: li and family. Given the centrality of both li and family in Confucianism, it may seem that Confucianism is inherently antagonistic to the (...)
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  8. On Ge Wu: Recovering the Way of the Great Learning.Huaiyu Wang - 2007 - Philosophy East and West 57 (2):204 - 226.
    By rethinking the meaning of a central idiom in the Great Learning, this essay intends to open up a new horizon for the hermeneutics of early Confucian thinking, which has little to do with metaphysics. Through a careful etymological study of ge wu and a dialogue between the Great Learning and Heidegger's phenomenology of human affection, I demonstrate the critical position of the human heart in early Chinese thinking. This new interpretation of early Confucian moral teachings also recovers an invigorating (...)
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  9. The Rehabilitation of Spontaneity: A New Approach in Philosophy of Action.Brian J. Bruya - 2010 - Philosophy East and West 60 (2):pp. 207-250.
    Scholars working in philosophy of action still struggle with the freedom/determinism dichotomy that stretches back to Hellenist philosophy and the metaphysics that gave rise to it. Although that metaphysics has been repudiated in current philosophy of mind and cognitive science, the dichotomy still haunts these fields. As such, action is understood as distinct from movement, or motion. In early China, under a very different metaphysical paradigm, no such distinction is made. Instead, a notion of self-caused movement, or spontaneity, is elaborated. (...)
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  10. Wittgenstein, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu: The Art of Circumlocution.Robert Elliott Allinson - 2007 - Asian Philosophy 17 (1):97 – 108.
    Where Western philosophy ends, with the limits of language, marks the beginning of Eastern philosophy. The Tao de jing of Laozi begins with the limitations of language and then proceeds from that as a starting point. On the other hand, the limitation of language marks the end of Wittgenstein's cogitations. In contrast to Wittgenstein, who thought that one should remain silent about that which cannot be put into words, the message of the Zhuangzi is that one can speak about that (...)
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  11. The Idea of a Female Ethic.Jean Grimshaw - 1992 - Philosophy East and West 42 (2):221-238.
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  12. Competing Interpretations of the Inner Chapters of the "Zhuangzi".W. Van Norden Bryan - 1996 - Philosophy East and West 46 (2):247-268.
    In the Inner Chapters, arguments for a variety of different philosophical positions are present, including skepticism, relativism, particularism, and objectivism. Given that these are not all mutually consistent, we are left with the problem of reconciling the tensions among them. The various positions are described and passages from the Inner Chapters are presented illustrating each. A detailed commentary is offered on the opening of the Inner Chapters, arguing that it is best understood in an objectivist fashion. An interpretation is presented (...)
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Classical Confucianism
  1. The Suberogation Problem for Lei Zhong's Confucian Virtue Theory of Supererogation.Tsung-Hsing Ho - 2019 - Philosophy East and West 69 (3):779-784.
    A virtue-based theory of right action aims to explain deontic moral principles in terms of virtue and vice. For example, it may maintain the following account of moral obligation: It is morally obligatory for an agent A to ϕ in circumstances C if and only if a fully virtuous and relevantly informed person V would characteristically ϕ in C. However, this account faces the so-called supererogation problem. A supererogatory action is an action that is morally praiseworthy but not morally obligatory. (...)
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  2. Do Filial Values Corrupt? How Can We Know? Clarifying and Assessing the Recent Confucian Debate.Hagop Sarkissian - forthcoming - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy.
    In a number of papers, Liu Qingping has critiqued Confucianism’s commitment to ‘consanguineous affection’ or filial values, claiming it to be excessive and indefensible. Many have taken issue with his textual readings and interpretive claims, but these responses do little to undermine the force of his central claim that filial values cause widespread corruption in Chinese society. This is not an interpretive claim but an empirical one. If true, it merits serious consideration. But is it true? How can we know? (...)
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  3. When You Think It's Bad It's Worse Than You Think: Psychological Bias and the Ethics of Negative Character Assessments.Hagop Sarkissian - 2015 - In Brian Bruya (ed.), The Philosophical Challenge from China. Cambridge, MA, USA: pp. 3-21.
    We often find ourselves thinking of others as boring, nauseating, dim, dodgy, clumsy, or otherwise irritating or unpleasant. What’s the right thing to do when we have such thoughts? Some philosophers argue we ought to be civil and conceal them, lest others pick up on them and feel disrespected. Drawing on experimental psychology and classical Confucianism, I argue otherwise, suggesting that we ought to (literally) doubt such appraisals and be wary of their veracity.
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  4. Is Self-Regulation a Burden or a Virtue? A Comparative Perspective.Hagop Sarkissian - 2014 - In Nancy Snow & Franco V. Trivigno (eds.), The Philosophy and Psychology of Character and Happiness: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness. New York, NY, USA: pp. 181-196.
    Confucianism demands that individuals comport themselves according to the strictures of ritual propriety—specific forms of speech, clothing, and demeanor attached to a vast array of life circumstances. This requires self-regulation, a cognitive resource of limited supply. When this resource is depleted, a person can experience undesirable consequences such as social isolation and alienation. However, one’s cultural background may be an important mediator of such costs; East Asians, in particular, seem to have comparatively greater self-regulatory strength. I offer some considerations as (...)
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  5. 因小得大: 情境论于道德哲学的困难与可能 (Minor Tweaks, Major Payoffs: The Problems and Promise of Situationism in Moral Philosophy).Hagop Sarkissian - 2012 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture 9.
    This is a translation of "Minor Tweaks, Major Payoffs" (2010) prepared by 黃玉娥 for the Journal of Chinese Philosophy and Culture for a special issue edited by Brian Bruya on cognitive science and early Chinese philosophy.
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  6. 고전 유교에서의 감정: 내면과 외면" ("Emotions in Classical Confucianism: Inside and Out").Hagop Sarkissian - 2012 - In 유교 도교 불교의 감성이론 (Theories of Emotion in Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism). Seoul:
    Classical Confucian thought is full of discussion of human emotions, reflecting a preoccupation with the inner life-how one ought to feel 'on the inside', as it were. Yet alongside these passages are others that seem, by contrast, to be concerned with matters external to one's emotions and psychology: how one ought to dress, speak, walk, and talk. Yet passages such as these, which draw attention to details of individual expression and comportment, are not at all tangential when it comes to (...)
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  7. Mencius and Augustine on Evil.Bryan Van Norden - 2001 - In Bo Mou (ed.), Two Roads to Wisdom? La Salle, IL, USA: Open Court. pp. 313-36.
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  8. Situationism, Manipulation, and Objective Self-Awareness.Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):489-503.
    Among those taking the implications of situationism seriously, some have suggested exploiting our tendency to be shaped by our environments toward desirable ends. The key insight here is that if experimental studies produce reliable, probabilistic predictions about the effects of situational variables on behavior—for example, how people react to the presence or absence of various sounds, objects, and their placement—then we should deploy those variables that promote prosocial behavior, while avoiding or limiting those that tend toward antisocial behavior. Put another (...)
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  9. Review of Boston Confucianism: Portable Tradition in the Late-Modern World by Robert Cummings Neville. [REVIEW]Bryan William van Norden - 2003 - Philosophy East and West 53 (3):413-417.
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  10. Confucianism and African Conceptions of Value, Reality and Knowledge (儒家思想与非洲的价值观、现实 观与知识观).Thaddeus Metz - 2016 - International Social Science Journal (Chinese Edition 国际社会科学杂志) 33 (4):159-170.
    This article, translated into Chinese by Tian Kaifang, summarizes and critically reflects on the current state of the literature that has recently begun to put Chinese Confucianism into dialogue with characteristically African conceptions of what is good, what fundamentally exists, and how to obtain knowledge. As most of this literature has addressed value theory, this article focuses largely on it, too. It first illustrates how similar the foundational values are between the two cultural traditions; central to both traditional China and (...)
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  11. Olberding, Amy, Ed., Dao Companion to the Analects. [REVIEW]Bryan Van Norden - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (4):605-608.
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  12. Seek and You Will Find It; Let Go and You Will Lose It: Exploring a Confucian Approach to Human Dignity.Peimin Ni - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (2):173-198.
    While the concept of Menschenwürde (universal human dignity) has served as the foundation for human rights, it is absent in the Confucian tradition. However, this does not mean that Confucianism has no resources for a broadly construed notion of human dignity. Beginning with two underlying dilemmas in the notion of Menschenwürde and explaining how Confucianism is able to avoid them, this essay articulates numerous unique features of a Confucian account of human dignity, and shows that the Confucian account goes beyond (...)
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  13. Confucian Rights as a "Fallback Apparatus” 作为“备用机制”的儒家权利.Justin Tiwald - 2013 - Academic Monthly 学术月刊 45 (11):41-49.
    Liang Tao and Kuang Zhao, trans. Confucian rights can be characterized as a kind of “fallback apparatus,” necessary only when preferred mechanisms—for example, familial and neighborly care or traditional courtesies—would otherwise fail to protect basic human interests. In this paper, I argue that the very existence of such rights is contingent on their ability to function as remedies for dysfunctional social relationships or failures to develop the virtues that sustain harmonious Confucian relationships. Moreover, these remedies are not, strictly speaking, rights-based, (...)
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  14. Confucianism's Political Implications for the Modern World.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2010 - In Miguel Vatter (ed.), Crediting God: The Fate of Religion and Politics in the Age of Global Capitalism.
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  15. Moral Reason, Moral Sentiments and the Realization of Altruism: A Motivational Theory of Altruism.JeeLoo Liu - 2012 - Asian Philosophy 22 (2):93-119.
    This paper begins with Thomas Nagel's (1970) investigation of the possibility of altruism to further examine how to motivate altruism. When the pursuit of the gratification of one's own desires generally has an immediate causal efficacy, how can one also be motivated to care for others and to act towards the well-being of others? A successful motivational theory of altruism must explain how altruism is possible under all these motivational interferences. The paper will begin with an exposition of Nagel's proposal, (...)
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  16. Inference in the Mengzi 1A:7.Koji Tanaka - 2011 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (3):444-454.
    In 1A:7 of the Mengzi, Mengzi tries to convince King Xuan of Qi that he is a “true” king. As a reading of Mengzi’s reasoning involved in his attempt at persuasion, David Nivison advances an inferential view, according to which Mengzi’s persuasion involves inferences. In this paper, I consider the assumptions underlying the objections raised against Nivison’s inferential view. I argue that these objections assume a contemporary Western view about the nature of logic and inferences. I propose an alternative characterisation (...)
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  17. Remastering Morals with Aristotle and Confucius. [REVIEW]Ben Mulvey - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (2):209-213.
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  18. Confucian Democracy and Equality.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2010 - Asian Philosophy 20 (3):261-282.
    “Confucian democracy” is considered oxymoronic because Confucianism is viewed as lacking an idea of equality among persons necessary for democracy. Against this widespread opinion, this article argues that Confucianism presupposes a uniquely Confucian idea of equality and that therefore a Confucian conception of democracy distinct from liberal democracy is not only conceptually possible but also morally justifiable. This article engages philosophical traditions of East and West by, first, reconstructing the prevailing position based on Joshua Cohen’s political liberalism; second, articulating a (...)
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  19. Is Confucianism Compatible with Care Ethics? A Critique.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2003 - Philosophy East and West 53 (4):471-489.
    This essay critically examines a suggestion proposed by some Confucianists that Confucianism and Care Ethics share striking similarities and that feminism in Confucian societies might take “a new form of Confucianism.” Aspects of Confucianism and Care Ethics that allegedly converge are examined, including the emphasis on human relationships, and it is argued that while these two perspectives share certain surface similarities, moral injunctions entailed by their respective ideals of ren and caring are not merely distinctive but in fact incompatible.
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  20. Review of Ivanhoe, Confucian Moral Self Cultivation. [REVIEW]Bryan van Norden - 1996 - Journal of Asian Studies 55 (4):983-84.
    Self-cultivation is a topic that has been largely ignored by Western moral philosophers. In contrast, it is a central concern of philosophers in the Confucian tradition. In this brief and highly readable book, Ivanhoe introduces the theories of self-cultivation of some of the most important figures in the Confucian tradition. (See the table of contents, below.) Although Confucianism is sometimes presented as a monolithic movement, Ivanhoe stresses the diversity within the Confucian tradition over more than 2,000 years. In addition to (...)
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  21. On “Humane Love” and “Kinship Love”.Bryan W. Van Norden - 2008 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (2):125-129.
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  22. Sim, May, Remastering Morals with Aristotle and Confucius. [REVIEW]Bryan Van Norden - 2009 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):109-111.
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Confucius
  1. Ritual and Rightness in the Analects.Hagop Sarkissian - 2013 - In Amy Olberding (ed.), Dao Companion to the Analects. pp. 95-116.
    Li (禮) and yi (義) are two central moral concepts in the Analects. Li has a broad semantic range, referring to formal ceremonial rituals on the one hand, and basic rules of personal decorum on the other. What is similar across the range of referents is that the li comprise strictures of correct behavior. The li are a distinguishing characteristic of Confucian approaches to ethics and socio-political thought, a set of rules and protocols that were thought to constitute the wise (...)
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  2. Adversity, Wisdom, and Exemplarism.Ian James Kidd - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (4):379-393.
    According to a venerable ideal, the core aim of philosophical practice is wisdom. The guiding concern of the ancient Greek, Indian, and Chinese traditions was the nature of the good life for human beings and the nature of reality. Central to these traditions is profound recognition of the subjection to adversities intrinsic to human life. I consider paradigmatic exemplars of wisdom, from ancient Western and Asian traditions, and the ways that experiences of adversity shaped their life. The suggestion is that (...)
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  3. Confucianism, Curiosity, and Moral Self-Cultivation.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Safiye Yigit & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 00-00.
    I propose that Confucianism incorporates a latent commitment to the closely related epistemic virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Confucian praise of certain people, practices, and dispositions is only fully intelligible if these are seen as exercises and expressions of epistemic virtues, of which curiosity and inquisitiveness are the obvious candidates. My strategy is to take two core components of Confucian ethical and educational practice and argue that each presupposes a specific virtue. To have and to express a ‘love of learning’ (...)
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