Confucius

Edited by Hagop Sarkissian (CUNY Graduate Center, Baruch College (CUNY))
Assistant editor: Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island (CUNY))
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  1. Virtuous contempt (wu 惡) in the Analects.Hagop Sarkissian - forthcoming - In Justin Tiwald (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Chinese Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Much is said about what Kongzi liked or cherished. Kongzi revered the rituals of the Zhou. He cherished tradition and classical music. He loved the Odes. Far less is said, however, about what he despised or held in contempt (wu 惡). Yet contempt appears in the oldest stratum of the Analects as a disposition or virtue of moral exemplars. In this chapter, I argue that understanding the role of despising or contempt in the Analects is important in appreciating Kongzi’s dao (...)
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  2. Let the ruler be the ruler.Liam D. Ryan - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2).
    How should we understand the Confucian doctrine of the rectification of names (zhengming): what does it mean that an object’s name must be in accordance with its reality, and why does it matter? The aim of this paper is to answer this question by advocating a novel interpretation of the later Confucian, Xunzi’s account of the doctrine. Xunzi claims that sage-kings ascribe names and values to objects by convention, and since they are sages, they know the truth. When we misuse (...)
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  3. Well-Functioning Daos and Moral Relativism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2022 - Philosophy East and West 72 (1):230-247.
    What are the nature and status of moral norms? And what makes individuals abide by them? These are central questions in metaethics. The first concerns the nature of the moral domain—for example, whether it exists independently of what individuals or groups think of it. The second concerns the bindingness or practical clout of moral norms—how individuals feel impelled to abide by them. In this article, I bring two distinct approaches to these questions into dialogue with one another.
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  4. Konfuçyüs Öğretisinde Nepotizm Sorunu.İlknur Sertdemir - 2022 - Felsefe Dünyasi 1 (75):364-383.
    The teaching of Confucius, one of the doctrines built Chinese philosophy, is the movement of thought that has penetrated politics, education, manners and customs in East Asia for centuries. Reading the principles that advise wisdom and virtue through classical texts, we can find out normative moral knowledge. This teaching, in which ethical standards guiding human relations are regulative, promotes hierarchy as required by patriarchal and patrimonial regime. Social structure is grounded on discrimination between nobles and commons. Since the rights and (...)
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  5. Love’s Extension: Confucian Familial Love and the Challenge of Impartiality.Andrew Lambert - 2021 - In Rachel Fedock, Michael Kühler & T. Raja Rosenhagen (eds.), Love, Justice, and Autonomy: Philosophical Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 364pp.
    The question of possible moral conflict between commitment to family and to impartiality is particularly relevant to traditional Confucian thought, given the importance of familial bonds in that tradition. Classical Confucian ethics also appears to lack any developed theoretical commitment to impartiality as a regulative ideal and a standpoint for ethical judgment, or to universal equality. The Confucian prioritizing of family has prompted criticism of Confucian ethics, and doubts about its continuing relevance in China and beyond. This chapter assesses how (...)
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  6. What is the Nature of “the Unperturbed Mind-heart” in Mencius 2A:2?Peter Tsung Kei Wong - 2021 - Chinese Studies 漢學研究 39 (2):1-37.
    「不動心」的本質是甚麼? ─《孟子》〈知言養氣章〉的文理與義理 / 漢學研究 39.2 (2021): 1-37. Scholars have tended to focus on the implications of such philosophical terms as “flood-like qi” 浩然之氣 and “unperturbed mind-heart” 不動心 in Mencius 2A:2, but have failed to identify the common thread of this rather long chapter. This article argues that Mencius 2A:2 frequently alludes to Analects 2.4, and that this allusion is precisely the common thread holding 2A:2 together. According to Mencius’s interpretation, Confucius’s achievements in different ages as stated in Analects 2.4 are (...)
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  7. How Virtue Reforms Attachment to External Goods: The Transformation of Happiness in the Analects.Bradford Cokelet - 2020 - Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture 33:9-39.
    After distinguishing three conceptions of virtue and its impact on ordinary attachments to external goods such as social status, power, friends, and wealth, this paper argues that the Confucian Analects is most charitably interpreted as endorsing the wholehearted internalization conception, on which virtue reforms but does not completely extinguish ordinary attachments to external goods. I begin by building on Amy Olberding’s attack on the extinguishing attachments conception, but go on to criticize her alternative, resolute sacrifice conception, on which the virtuous (...)
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  8. Trans-Cultural Journeys of East-Asian Educators: The Impact of the Three Teachings.Nguyen Hoang Giang-Le, Chieh-Tai Hsiao & Youmi Heo - 2020 - International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education 11 (1):4201-4210.
    This paper presents the joint journeys, from the East to the West, of three emerging educators, who reflect on their lived experiences in an Asian educational context and their shaped identities through a connection between the motherland and the places to which they immigrated. They have grounded their identities in the inequities they experienced in Asian education and described their experiences through a cultural and social lens as Asian teachers studying in Canadian institutions. They story their lived experiences by using (...)
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  9. The Wrong of Rudeness. [REVIEW]Andrew Lambert - 2020 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2020.
    Amy Olberding, The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2019, 183pp., $29.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780190880965. Reviewed byAndrew Lambert, City University of New York, College of Staten Island.
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  10. On how religions could accidentally incite lies and violence: folktales as a cultural transmitter.Quan-Hoang Vuong, Manh-Tung Ho, Hong-Kong T. Nguyen, Thu-Trang Vuong, Trung Tran, Khanh-Linh Hoang, Thi-Hanh Vu, Phuong-Hanh Hoang, Minh-Hoang Nguyen, Manh-Toan Ho & Viet-Phuong La - 2020 - Palgrave Communications 6 (1):82.
    Folklore has a critical role as a cultural transmitter, all the while being a socially accepted medium for the expressions of culturally contradicting wishes and conducts. In this study of Vietnamese folktales, through the use of Bayesian multilevel modeling and the Markov chain Monte Carlo technique, we offer empirical evidence for how the interplay between religious teachings (Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism) and deviant behaviors (lying and violence) could affect a folktale’s outcome. The findings indicate that characters who lie and/or commit (...)
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  11. Emotional Attachment and Its Limits: Mengzi, Gaozi and the Guodian Discussions.Karyn L. Lai - 2019 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 14 (1):132-151.
    Mengzi maintained that both benevolence (ren 仁) and rightness (yi 義) are naturally-given in human nature. This view has occupied a dominant place in Confucian intellectual history. In Mencius 6A, Mengzi's interlocutor, Gaozi, contests this view, arguing that rightness is determined by (doing what is fitting, in line with) external circumstances. I discuss here some passages from the excavated Guodian texts, which lend weight to Gaozi's view. The texts reveal nuanced considerations of relational proximity and its limits, setting up requirements (...)
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  12. Punishment and Ethical Self-Cultivation in Confucius and Aristotle.Matthew D. Walker - 2019 - Law and Literature 31 (2):259-275.
    Confucius and Aristotle both put a primacy on the task of ethical self-cultivation. Unlike Aristotle, who emphasizes the instrumental value of legal punishment for cultivation’s sake, Confucius raises worries about the practice of punishment. Punishment, and the threat of punishment, Confucius suggests, actually threatens to warp human motivation and impede our ethical development. In this paper, I examine Confucius’ worries about legal punishment, and consider how a dialogue on punishment between Confucius and Aristotle might proceed. I explore how far apart (...)
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  13. A Confucian Perspective on Tertiary Education for the Common Good.Edmond Eh - 2018 - Journal of the Macau Ricci Institute 3:26-34.
    Confucian education is best captured by the programme described in the Great Learning. Education is presented first as the process of self-cultivation for the sake of developing virtuous character. Self-cultivation then allows for virtue to be cultivated in the familial, social and international dimensions. My central thesis is that Confucianism can serve as a universal framework of educating people for the common good in its promotion of personal cultivation for the sake of human progress. On this account the common good (...)
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  14. 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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  15. Confucianism, Curiosity, and Moral Self-Cultivation.Ian James Kidd - 2018 - In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Dennis Whitcomb & Safiye Yigit (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity. Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 97-116.
    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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  16. Learning to be Reliable: Confucius' Analects.Karyn L. Lai - 2018 - In Karyn L. Lai, Rick Benitez & Hyun Jin Kim (eds.), Cultivating a Good Life in Early Chinese and Ancient Greek Philosophy: Perspectives and Reverberations. Bloomsbury. pp. 193-207.
    In the Lunyu, Confucius remarks on the implausibility—or impossibility—of a life lacking in xin 信, reliability (2.22). In existing discussions of Confucian philosophy, this aspect of life is often eclipsed by greater emphasis on Confucian values such as ren 仁 (benevolence), li 禮 (propriety) and yi 義 (rightness). My discussion addresses this imbalance by focusing on reliability, extending current debates in two ways. First, it proposes that the common translation of xin as denoting coherence between a person’s words and deeds (...)
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  17. Confucius's Sayings Entombed: On Two Han Dynasty Bamboo Lunyu Manuscripts.Paul van Els - 2018 - In Michael Hunter & Martin Kern (eds.), Confucius and the _Analects_ Revisited: New Perspectives on Composition, Dating, and Authorship. BRILL. pp. 152–86.
    This paper is intended as a gateway to two 2000-year-old manuscripts of the Analects. The first two sections discuss the archaeological context of the discoveries and analyse the manuscripts themselves, including characteristic features of the bamboo strips and the texts inked thereon and notable differences between these and other Analects versions. In these sections, I also critically evaluate present-day Analects studies and offer alternative hypotheses where there is room for debate. The third and final section of the paper discusses what (...)
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  18. Non-Impositional Rule in Confucius and Aristotle.Matthew D. Walker - 2018 - In Alexus McLeod (ed.), The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Early Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 187-204.
    I examine and compare Confucian wu-wei rule and Aristotelian non-imperative rule as two models of non-impositional rule. How exactly do non-impositional rulers, according to these thinkers, generate order? And how might a Confucian/Aristotelian dialogue concerning non-impositional rule in distinctively political contexts proceed? Are Confucians and Aristotelians in deep disagreement, or do they actually have more in common than they initially seem?
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  19. Confucius: The Man and the Way of Gongfu by Peimin Ni. [REVIEW]Andrew Lambert Jr - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 68 (1):1-4.
    In Confucius: the Man and the Way of Gongfu, Peimin Ni offers an overview of the historical Confucius and his organic vision of how to live. Ni's motivation is that many comparable introductions are "simply repeating his life story and listing his main ideas". Ni insists that, "we have to get to the depth required by Confucius' thought", which will then explain why Confucius' influence has endured. The book is structured as six chapters, each focusing on one aspect of Confucius: (...)
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  20. Confucius and the superorganism.Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, NY, USA: Columbia University Press. 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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  21. 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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  22. Confucian Thought and Care Ethics: An Amicable Split?Andrew Lambert - 2016 - In Mathew Foust & Sor-Hoon Tan (eds.), Feminist Encounters with Confucius. Boston, USA: Brill. pp. 173-97.
    Since Chenyang Li’s (1994) groundbreaking article there has been interest in reading early Confucian ethics through the lens of care ethics. In this paper, I examine the prospects for dialogue between the two in light of recent work in both fields. I argue that, despite some similarities, early Confucian ethics is not best understood as a form of care ethics, of the kind articulated by Nel Noddings (1984, 2002) and others. Reasons include incongruence deriving from the absence in the Chinese (...)
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  23. The Master Finally Speaks Dutch. [REVIEW]Paul van Els - 2015 - Filter 22:55–56.
    van Els, Paul. "De Meester spreekt nu eindelijk Nederlands" (The Master Finally Speaks Dutch). Review of Confucius: de Gesprekken, by Kristofer Schipper. Filter 22, no. 1 (2015): 55–56.
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  24. A Genealogical Study of De: Poetical Correspondence of Sky, Earth, and Humankind in the Early Chinese Virtuous Rule of Benefaction.Huaiyu Wang - 2015 - Philosophy East and West 65 (1):81-124.
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  25. Ren: An Exemplary Life.Karyn L. Lai - 2013 - In Amy Olberding (ed.), Dao Companion to the Analects. Springer. pp. 83-94.
    This chapter discusses ren 仁, a major term in the Confucian Analects. It analyzes the range of meanings of ren across different conversations, paying special attention to its associations with other key Confucian terms such as li (禮 behavioural propriety) and zhi (知 understanding). Building on this analysis, the discussion focuses on ren in terms of how it is manifest in a person’s life. In particular, it expresses ren in terms of an exemplary life—a life lived well. The chapter also (...)
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  26. The Question of Resentment in Nietzsche and Confucian Ethics.Eric S. Nelson - 2013 - Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies 10 (1):17-51.
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  27. Ritual and Rightness in the Analects.Hagop Sarkissian - 2013 - In Amy Olberding (ed.), Dao Companion to the Analects. Springer. 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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  28. Confucius's Virtue Politics: Ren as Leadership Virtue.Shirong Luo - 2012 - Asian Philosophy 22 (1):15-35.
    This essay calls attention to an aspect of Confucius's notion of ren that has often been overlooked or even denied in much recent discussion of the topic. While the egalitarian aspect of ren, i.e., the idea that every human being has the potential to become a ren person, is frequently asserted, the leadership dimension of ren has for the most part been given short shrift. I argue that for Confucius, ren is the leadership virtue. This conclusion is mainly based on (...)
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  29. Minor Tweaks, Major Payoffs: The Problems and Promise of Situationism in Moral Philosophy.Hagop Sarkissian - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
    Moral philosophers of late have been examining the implications of experimental social psychology for ethics. The focus of attention has been on situationism—the thesis that we routinely underestimate the extent to which minor situational variables influence morally significant behavior. Situationism has been seen as a threat to prevailing lay and philosophical theories of character, personhood, and agency. In this paper, I outline the situationist literature and critique one of its upshots: the admonition to carefully select one’s situational contexts. Besides being (...)
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  30. Recent Approaches to Confucian Filial Morality.Hagop Sarkissian - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (9):725-734.
    A hallmark of Confucian morality is its emphasis on duties to family and kin as weighty features of moral life. The virtue of ‘filiality’ or ‘filial piety’ (xiao 孝), for example, is one of the most important in the Confucian canon. This aspect of Confucianism has been of renewed interest recently. On the one hand, some have claimed that, precisely because it acknowledges the importance of kin duties, Confucianism should be seen as an ethics rooted in human nature that remains (...)
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  31. Confucius and the Effortless Life of Virtue.Hagop Sarkissian - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1):1-16.
    Natural talent and diligent practice regularly lead to effortless virtuosity in many fields, such as music and athletics. Can the same be true of morality? Confucius’s wonderfully terse autobiography in the Analects suggests that, given the right starting materials and an appropriate curriculum of study, a program of moral self-cultivation can indeed lead to effortless moral virtuosity. But can we make sense of this claim from a contemporary perspective? This paper evaluates the plausibility of the moral ideal in the Analects (...)
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  32. The authority of the master in the analects.David Elstein - 2009 - Philosophy East and West 59 (2):pp. 142-172.
    This article takes issue with the stereotype of "Confucianism" as authoritarian, a view common in discussions of modern China as well as in scholarship on early China. By studying the roles of master and students and the relationship between them in the Analects , it attempts to show that according to this text the master did not occupy a position of complete dominance over the student. Masters are not generally considered to be like fathers, and students have more room to (...)
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  33. 先秦儒家关于“欲”的理论 (Pre-Qin Confucian Theory on Human Desires).Keqian Xu - 2006 - 中州学刊 (Academic Journal of Zhongzhou) 2006 (1):166-170.
    The theory about human desire is one important component in early Confucian theory of humanity. It is worth our attention that Pre-Qin Confucians never put human desire at the absolute opposite position to the Heavenly Principle, as their successors do. Contrarily, they generally believe that the desire is the inseparable property of normal human nature, and making efforts to satisfy the human desire is reasonable. Only in terms of reducing the conflicts between human desire and the limited resources they advocate (...)
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  34. Hillel and Confucius: The prescriptive formulation of the golden rule in the Jewish and Chinese Confucian ethical traditions.Robert Elliott Allinson - 2003 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 3 (1):29-41.
    In this article, the Golden Rule, a central ethical value to both Judaism and Confucianism, is evaluated in its prescriptive and proscriptive sentential formulations. Contrary to the positively worded, prescriptive formulation – “Love others as oneself” – the prohibitive formulation, which forms the injunction, “Do not harm others, as one would not harm oneself,” is shown to be the more prevalent Judaic and Confucian presentation of the Golden Rule. After establishing this point, the remainder of the article is dedicated to (...)
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  35. The dao of kongzi.Bryan W. van Norden - 2002 - Asian Philosophy 12 (3):157 – 171.
    This paper introduces the Analects of Kongzi (better known to English-speakers as 'Confucius') to non-specialist readers, and discusses two major lines of interpretation. According to one group of interpretations, the key to understanding the Analects is passage 4.15, in which a disciple says that 'loyalty' and 'reciprocity' together make up the 'one thread' of the Master's teachings. More recently, some interpreters have emphasised passage 13.3, which discusses 'correcting names': bringing words and things into proper alignment. This paper argues that both (...)
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  36. Morale confuciana.Sergio Volodia Marcello Cremaschi - 1996 - In Virgilio Melchiorre, Guido Boffi, Eugenio Garin, Adriano Bausola, Enrico Berti, Francesca Castellani, Sergio Cremaschi, Carla Danani, Roberto Diodato, Sergio Galvan, Alessandro Ghisalberti, Giuseppe Grampa, Michele Lenoci, Roberto Maiocchi, Michele Marsonet, Emanuela Mora, Carlo Penco, Roberto Radice, Giovanni Reale, Andrea Salanti, Piero Stefani, Valerio Verra & Paolo Volonté (eds.), Enciclopedia della Filosofia e delle Scienze Umane. Virgilio Melchiorre (ed.). Novara: De Agostini. pp. 637-638.
    A short presentation of the moral doctrines inspired by the Confucian tradition.
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  37. The golden rule as the core value in confucianism & christianity: Ethical similarities and differences.Robert E. Allinson - 1992 - Asian Philosophy 2 (2):173 – 185.
    One side of this paper is devoted to showing that the Golden Rule, understood as standing for universal love, is centrally characteristic of Confucianism properly understood, rather than graded, familial love. In this respect Confucianism and Christianity are similar. The other side of this paper is devoted to arguing contra 18 centuries of commentators that the negative sentential formulation of the Golden Rule as found in Confucius cannot be converted to an affirmative sentential formulation (as is found in Christianity) without (...)
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  38. The confucian golden rule: A negative formulation.Robert E. Allinson - 1985 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 12 (3):305-315.
    Much has been said about Confucius’ negative formulation of the Golden Rule. Most discussions center on explaining why this formulation, while negative, does not differ at all in intention from the positive formulation. It is my view that such attempts may have the effect of blurring the essential point behind the specifically negative formulation, a point which I hope to elucidate in this essay. It is my first contention that such a negative formulation is consonant with other basic implicit Confucian (...)
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