Freedom and moral responsibility in confucian ethics

Philosophy East and West 22 (2):169-186 (1972)
Confucian moral philosophy doesn't seem to provide a theory of excuses. I explore an explanatory hypothesis to explain how excuse conditions might be built into the Confucian doctrine of rectifying names. In the process, I address the issue of the motivation for the theory. The hypothesis is that the theory provides not only excuse conditions, but also exception and conflict resolution roles for an essentially positive morality rooted in the traditional code of 禮 li/ritual, transmitted from the ancient sage kings. The relatively fixed content of this text-like moral code required aggressive interpretive leeway to cope with the problems endemic in rule deontological and etiquette-like normative schemes.
Keywords Confucian ethics  rectifying names  responsibility
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DOI 10.2307/1398123
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Katrin Froese (2008). The Art of Becoming Human: Morality in Kant and Confucius. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3):257-268.
May Sim (2004). Harmony and the Mean in theNicomachean Ethics and theZhongyong. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 3 (2):253-280.
Chad Hansen (1989). Mo-Tzu: Language Utilitarianism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 16 (3-4):355-380.

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