David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Religious Ethics 36 (2):321-353 (2008)
In this article, I present a neo-Confucian answer, by Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi, to the question, "Why should I be moral?" I argue that this answer is better than some representative answers in the Western philosophical tradition. According to the Chengs, one should be moral because it is a joy to perform moral actions. Sometimes one finds it a pain, instead of a joy, to perform moral actions only because one lacks the necessary genuine moral knowledge—knowledge that is accessible to every common person as long as one makes the effort to learn. One should make the effort to learn such knowledge—to seek joy in performing moral actions—because to be moral is a distinguishing mark of being human. This neo-Confucian answer seems to be egoistic, as its conception of motivation for morality is based on self-interest: to seek one's own joy. However, since it emphasizes that one's true self-interest is to seek joy in things uniquely human, which is to be moral, self-interest and morality become identical; the more a person seeks one's self-interest, the more moral the person is, and vice versa
|Keywords||Aristotle Hume Cheng Yi Plato confucianism moral motivation egoism Cheng Hao Hobbes|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Galia Patt-Shamir (2012). Filial Piety, Vital Power, and a Moral Sense of Immortality in Zhang Zai's Philosophy. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (2):223-239.
Similar books and articles
Yong Huang (2006). A Neo-Confucian Conception of Wisdom: Wang Yangming on the Innate Moral Knowledge (Liangzhi). Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33 (3):393–408.
Zhu Renqiu & Liu Huawei (2009). The Formation, Development and Evolution of Neo-Confucianism — with a Focus on the Doctrine of "Stilling the Nature" in the Song Period. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):322 - 342.
Yong Huang (2003). Cheng Brothers' Neo‐Confucian Virtue Ethics: The Identity of Virtue and Nature. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30 (3‐4):451-467.
Chung-ying Cheng (1997). On a Comprehensive Theory of Xing (Naturality) in Song-Ming Neo-Confucian Philosophy: A Critical and Integrative Development. Philosophy East and West 47 (1):33-46.
Kim Sungmoon (2009). Trouble with Korean Confucianism: Scholar-Official Between Ideal and Reality. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):29-48.
Sarah McGrath (2004). Moral Knowledge by Perception. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):209–228.
Renqiu Zhu (2009). The Formation, Development and Evolution of Neo-Confucianism — with a Focus on the Doctrine of “Stilling the Nature” in the Song Period. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):322-342.
A. T. Nuyen (2009). Moral Obligation and Moral Motivation in Confucian Role-Based Ethics. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):1-11.
Yong Huang (2005). Confucian Love and Global Ethics: How the Cheng Brothers Would Help Respond to Christian Criticisms. Asian Philosophy 15 (1):35 – 60.
Yong Huang (2007). The Cheng Brothers' Onto-Theological Articulation of Confucian Values. Asian Philosophy 17 (3):187 – 211.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #61,756 of 1,100,819 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #19,437 of 1,100,819 )
How can I increase my downloads?