The way, the right, and the good

Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (1):107-129 (2009)
This article argues that Kongzi's religious ethics suggests an alternative way of understanding the relationship between the right and the good, in which neither takes clear precedence in terms of being more foundational for ethics. The religious underpinnings of Kongzi's understanding of the Way are examined, including the close relationship between tian ("Heaven") and the Way. It is shown that following the Way is defined primarily by the extent to which one's actions express certain virtues, and not whether one's actions are conducive to the best overall outcome or whether they are inherently right irrespective of consequences. It is then argued that the Way is seen as constitutive of both the right and the good, and that this understanding of the right and the good has important implications for contemporary virtue ethics, religious ethics, and political philosophy
Keywords tian  good  dao  Kongzi  Confucianism  right  Analects
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