Confucian moral realism

Asian Philosophy 17 (2):167 – 184 (2007)
In this paper I construct Confucian moral realism as a metaethical theory that is compatible with, or even derivable from, traditional Confucianism. The paper is at once interpretative and constructive. In my analysis, Confucians can establish the realist's claims on moral properties because they embrace the view of a moralistic universe. Moral properties in Confucian ethics not only are presented as objective, naturalistic properties, but also are seen as 'causally efficacious'. There are several theses commonly endorsed by contemporary moral realists. I will explain how many of the remarks by Confucius, Mencius, in Yijing, The Great Learning and The Doctrine of the Mean can be understood as implicit endorsements of these theses. I will also analyze the theses specific to Confucian moral realism. The paper will end with a brief defense of this form of realism.
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