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Confucian civility

A major reason that Confucius should matter to Western ethical philosophers is that some of his concerns are markedly different from those most common in the West. A Western emphasis has been on major choices that are treated in a decontextualized way. Confucius’ emphasis is on paths of life, so that context matters. Further, the nuances of personal relations get more attention than is common (with the exception of feminist ethics) in Western philosophy. What Confucius provides is a valuable aid in arriving at a more balanced sense of what ethics is concerned with. It also allows us to realize the importance of sensitivity to particulars. Finally, it highlights the importance of style (as well as the content of what is chosen) in behavior, and the ways in which relations with family and friends can connect with choices in a wider “public” sphere.
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Aaron Stalnaker (2013). Confucianism, Democracy, and the Virtue of Deference. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (4):441-459.
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