The subjectivity and Universality of virtues—An investigation based on Confucius' and Aristotle's views
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (2):217-238 (2011)
Philosophers today are inclined to propose virtues are either something subjective or something universal. However, Confucius and Aristotle, who made the most profound investigations into virtues, did not develop such theses. The deep-seated reason lies in their belief that there is always a possibility for a human being to become a man of practice, which cancels the need of proposing subjectivity thesis. The reason for their not raising the universality thesis of virtues is that they do not think that virtues are directly universal to all contemporarily existing minds. Rather, in their view, virtues involve a possible universality that may present in a virtuous mind. We can summarize Aristotle’s view into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the perfect state of mind, since he explains the perfect state of mind in terms of perfect state of activity, and makes his investigations with an eye to the interactions between people with similar states of virtues. The view of Confucius can be summarized into the concept of possible universality of virtue understood in terms of the history of mind, since his investigations are made from the point of view of the states of mind reached through virtuous practices, i.e., a historical process of human life in which one’s pre-dispositions and feelings gradually reach some state of natural harmony and gains continual enrichment, and with an eye to the interactions between virtuous people and common people. From that similarly expressed view we can reasonably infer that virtues do possess the character called by today’s philosophers as universality, but it is a possible universality whose possibility is based on practice and on the development of virtuous minds.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Aristotle (2004). The Nicomachean Ethics. Penguin Books.
A. J. Ayer (1936). Language, Truth and Logic. London, V. Gollancz, Ltd..
Immanuel Kant (1909/2004). Critique of Practical Reason. Dover Publications.
Immanuel Kant (1785/2002). Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Christoph Jedan (2009). Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics. Continuum.
Thomas Sherman (2008). Wisdom and Action Guidance in the Agent-Based Virtue Ethics of Aristotle. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):481 - 506.
S. J. Thomas Sherman (2006). Wisdom and Action Guidance in the Agent-Based Virtue Ethics of Aristotle. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4):481-506.
Lai Chen (2010). Virtue Ethics and Confucian Ethics. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (3):275-287.
Eric Mullis (2010). Confucius and Aristotle on the Goods of Friendship. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):391-405.
Jean Porter (1993). The Unity of the Virtues and the Ambiguity of Goodness: A Reappraisal of Aquinas's Theory of the Virtues. Journal of Religious Ethics 21 (1):137 - 163.
Jason Kawall (2009). In Defense of the Primacy of the Virtues. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (2):1-21.
Robert C. Roberts (1992). Emotions Among the Virtues of the Christian Life. Journal of Religious Ethics 20 (1):37 - 68.
Tara Smith (2008). Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist. Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (1):117-126.
Anton Froeyman (2012). Virtues of Historiography. Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (4):415-431.
David S. Oderberg (1999). On the Cardinality of the Cardinal Virtues. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (3):305 – 322.
Jon Simons (2001). Democracy is a Failure Worthy of Infinite Repetition. Critical Horizons 2 (1):127-148.
Daniel Nolan (1999). Is Fertility Virtuous in its Own Right? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (2):265-282.
Added to index2011-05-22
Total downloads14 ( #170,159 of 1,699,594 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #269,935 of 1,699,594 )
How can I increase my downloads?