Extending Kindness: A Confucian Account

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly:1-18 (forthcoming)
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The Confucian philosopher Mengzi believes that ‘extending’ one's kindness facilitates one's moral development and that it is intimately tied to performing morally good actions. Most interpreters have taken Mengzian kindness to be an emotional state, with the extension of kindness to centrally involve feeling kindness towards more people or in a greater number of situations. I argue that kindness cannot do all the theoretical work that Mengzi wants it to do if it is interpreted as an emotion. I submit that Mengzi's notion of extending kindness is best understood as the exercise of a capacity for intelligently performing kind actions.

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Waldemar Brys
University of New South Wales


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