Lessons from the past: Zhang Xuecheng and the ethical dimensions of history

This article explores some of the ways in which historical writings can play a substantial role in the development of ethical sensibilities and makes the more general point that since human beings are unique in understanding themselves as historical beings and value how they and others appear in historical perspective, an understanding and sense of history must play a role in an adequate account of ethics. The main focus of the article is a description and analysis of the views of the Chinese philosopher Zhang Xuecheng ç« å­¸èª . After presenting an account of Zhang’s ideas concerning the relationship between history and ethics, I argue that versions of Zhang’s central claims still have the potential to make significant contributions to contemporary philosophy
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