Mencius and Dewey on Moral Perception, Deliberation, and Imagination

I argue against interpretations of Mencius by Liu Xiusheng and Eric Hutton that attempt to make sense of a Mencian account of moral judgment and deliberation in light of the moral particularism of John McDowell. These interpretations read Mencius’s account as relying on a faculty of moral perception, which generates moral judgments by directly perceiving moral facts that are immediately intuited with the help of rudimentary and innate moral inclinations. However, I argue that it is a mistake to identify innate moral inclinations as the foundational source of moral judgments and knowledge. Instead, if we understand that for Mencius an individual’s natural dispositions (xing 性) have a relational element, then the normativity of moral judgments can be seen as stemming from the relationships that constitute the dispositions of each individual. Finally, this essay elaborates on John Dewey's account of moral deliberation as moral imagination, an account which also takes the relational quality of natural dispositions as its starting point, in order to suggest the vital role of imagination for Mencius’s own account of moral deliberation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11712-012-9276-z
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,974
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
D. C. Lau (2005). Mencius. Penguin Classics.
David B. Wong (2004). Relational and Autonomous Selves. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31 (4):419–432.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Mary Tjiattas (2007). Against Moral Particularism. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 1:19-24.
Liangkang Ni (2009). Moral Instinct and Moral Judgment. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (2):238-250.
Kyle Swan (2004). Moral Judgment and Emotions. Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):375-381.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

8 ( #267,637 of 1,725,822 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,283 of 1,725,822 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.