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Foundations of Confucian Ethics


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This book examines the competing ethical and virtue ethical accounts of the philosophical foundations of Confucius' ethical teachings in the Analects. Confucius teaches that filial piety, or respect for one's parents and elders, is the root of personal excellence and a stable society. However, contemporary philosophers have understood filial piety in different ways. Some argue that it is an inner character trait, the development of which leads to a flourishing life and community, and that on the whole Confucius, like Aristotle, offers an ethics based on virtue. Others claim it is a kind of excellence in relationship, the interpersonal space wherein we begin to master our social roles, and that Confucius' ethical teachings cannot be reduced to familiar Western theories. This book offers a side-by-side consideration of these two competing interpretations of the Chinese sage, ultimately arguing that Confucius' ethics has important things to teach us about both our inner character traits and our social roles.
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Table of Contents

1. Two Views of Early Confucian Ethics / 2. Metaphysics: Substance, Relations, and the Virtuous Self / 3. Psychology: Inner Character and Shared Awareness of Roles / 4. Moral Development: Individual and Community / 5. A Role-bound Account of Virtue in the Analects / Bibliography / Index

About the Author

Tim Connolly is Associate Professor of Philosoph at East Stroudsburg University. He is the author of Doing Philosophy Comparatively (2015).

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