David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Military Ethics 11 (2):97-113 (2012)
Abstract The early Ru or ?Confucian? figure Xunzi (?Master Xun,? c. 310?c. 220 BCE) gives a sophisticated analysis of war, which he develops on the basis of a larger social and political vision that he works out in considerable detail. This larger vision of human society is thoroughly normative in the sense that Xunzi both argues for the value of his ideal conception of society, and relates these moral arguments for the Confucian Dao or Way to what I take to be fairly hardheaded assessments of the dynamics of international relations in his late Warring States historical context. This combination of moral vision and political realism, combined with his advocacy of strong political authorities that nevertheless rule justly in service to the common good, makes his thought arguably more relevant to the contemporary world of contending nation-states, and a rising, undemocratic China, than any other pre-modern Confucian. Xunzi's own context, both intellectual and political/military, led him to argue about war in ways that look distinctive to contemporary Western ethicists ? and yet his preferred issues are revealing in themselves and are suggestive in relation to current debates in military ethics. In the first part of this paper I analyze Xunzi's argumentative strategy in debate about war, where he chooses to attack his adversaries on the question of how to cultivate true loyalty and obedience in subordinates. The second part briefly explores Xunzi's vision of the good society and how it fits into a multi-state world, which undergirds his critique of alternate discourses about war and government. The third examines the Xunzian vision of politics and war as a source for a contemporary Confucian theory of civilian-military relations. The fourth section explores some implications of a Xunzian account for international relations, through a brief comparison with the Kantian notion of ?perpetual peace? among liberal states, and whether such ?zones of peace? might be conceivable on Confucian grounds. The conclusion reflects on the ambiguous legacy of Xunzi's moralism in his analysis of war and statecraft, and the possible light this shines on contemporary Chinese political culture
|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
John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
Henry Rosemont (2009). The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing. University of Hawai'i Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sungmoon Kim (2013). Between Good and Evil: Xunzi's Reinterpretation of the Hegemonic Rule as Decent Governance. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):73-92.
D. A. Bell (2009). War, Peace, and China's Soft Power: A Confucian Approach. Diogenes 56 (1):26-40.
Aaron Stalnaker (2004). Rational Justification in Xunzi. International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (1):53-68.
Eirik Lang Harris (2013). The Role of Virtue in Xunzi's 荀子 Political Philosophy. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):93-110.
Justin Tiwald (2012). Xunzi on Moral Expertise. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):275-293.
Chenyang Li (2012). Equality and Inequality in Confucianism. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3):295-313.
Eirik Lang Harris (2013). Constraining the Ruler: On Escaping Han Fei's Criticism of Confucian Virtue Politics. Asian Philosophy 23 (1):43-61.
James Turner Johnson (2006). The Just War Idea: The State of the Question. Social Philosophy and Policy 23 (1):167-195.
Alejandro Bárcenas (2012). Xunzi and Han Fei on Human Nature. International Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):135-148.
Ping-Cheung Lo (2012). Warfare Ethics in Sunzi'sart of War?Historical Controversies and Contemporary Perspectives. Journal of Military Ethics 11 (2):114-135.
James Behuniak (2000). Nivison and the "Problem" in Xunzi's Ethics. Philosophy East and West 50 (1):97-110.
Lai Chen (2009). “ Ru ”: Xunzi's Thoughts on Ru and its Significance. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (2):157-179.
Deborah S. Mower (2013). Situationism and Confucian Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):113-137.
Aaron Stalnaker (2003). Aspects of Xunzi's Engagement with Early Daoism. Philosophy East and West 53 (1):87-129.
Alex J. Bellamy (2006). Just Wars: From Cicero to Iraq. Polity Press.
Added to index2012-09-11
Total downloads4 ( #295,057 of 1,689,225 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #183,788 of 1,689,225 )
How can I increase my downloads?