Understanding Confucian Ethics: Reflections on Moral Development

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The standard criticisms of Confucian ethics appear contradictory. On the one hand, Confucian ethics is deemed overly rule-bound: it is obsolete because it advocates adherence to ancient Chinese norms of proper conduct. On the other hand, Confucian ethics is perceived as situational ethics—done on the run—and not properly grounded in fundamental principles or norms. I give reasons for these disparate views of Confucian ethics. I also sketch an account of Confucian morality that focuses on moral development; in this account the place of normative ethics is nominal.
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Archival date: 2020-04-17
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