Mencius

Edited by Hagop Sarkissian (Baruch College (CUNY), CUNY Graduate Center)
Assistant editor: Andrew Lambert (College of Staten Island (CUNY))
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  1. added 2019-02-01
    A Study of the Philosophy of the Silk "Wuxing" Text Commentary Section and a Discussion of the Silk "Wuxing" Text and Mencius's Philosophy.Chen Lai - 2011 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 43 (2):70-107.
  2. added 2019-02-01
    Arguing for Zisi and Mencius as the Respective Authors of the "Wuxing" Canon and Commentary Sections, and the Historical Significance of the Discovery of the Guodian "Wuxing" Text.Chen Lai - 2011 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 43 (2):14-25.
  3. added 2018-08-23
    The Role of Human Nature in Moral Inqiury: MacIntyre, Mencius, and Xunzi.Richard Kim - 2015 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 32 (4):313-333.
    Appeals to human nature in normative inquiry have fallen out of favor among contemporary philosophers. There are a variety of reasons frequently cited by those who see appeals to human nature as deeply problematic: (a) that the notion of human nature, which conceives nature as having a teleological direction, is incompatible with evolutionary biology; (b) that the manifest diversity of cultural values and traditions falsify any essentialist claims involving a common nature necessarily shared by all humans; (c) that appeals to (...)
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  4. added 2018-06-22
    Mengzi’s Moral Psychology, Part 1: The Four Moral Sprouts.John Ramsey - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    Mengzi (372–289 BCE), or Mencius, an early Confucian whose thinking is represented in the eponymous Mengzi, argues that human nature is good and that all human beings possess four senses—the feelings of compassion, shame, respect, and the ability to approve and disapprove—which he variously calls “hearts” or “sprouts.” Each sprout may be cultivated into its corresponding virtue of ren, li, yi, or zhi. -/- Here we explore why Mengzi thinks we possess these four hearts and their relation to the cultivated (...)
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  5. added 2018-06-22
    Mengzi’s Moral Psychology, Part 2: The Cultivation Analogy.John Ramsey - 2018 - 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology.
    We explore the central analogy behind Mengzi’s view of ethical cultivation. -/- Philosophers sometimes ask what makes a person’s life worthwhile or what conditions make for a good life. Mengzi’s answer involves cultivating our innate moral senses into fully ripened virtues of ren (humaneness), yi (rightness), li (propriety), and zhi (wisdom). This cultivation neither is individualistic nor can it happen in isolation: it requires a lifetime of meaningful interactions with other people. In short, one’s ethical cultivation is interdependent with other (...)
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  6. added 2018-04-16
    Confucianism and American Philosophy.Mathew A. Foust - 2017 - Albany, USA: SUNY Press.
  7. added 2017-09-07
    The Bridge of Benevolence: Hutcheson and Mencius.Alejandra Mancilla - 2013 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):57-72.
    The Scottish sentimentalist Francis Hutcheson and the Chinese Confucianist Mencius give benevolence (ren) a key place in their respective moral theories, as the first and foundational virtue. Leaving aside differences in style and method, my purpose in this essay is to underline this similarity by focusing on four common features: first, benevolence springs from compassion, an innate and universal feeling shared by all human beings; second, its objects are not only human beings but also animals; third, it is sensitive to (...)
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  8. added 2017-09-05
    Wisdom, Agency, and the Role of Reasons in Mengzi.John Ramsey - 2015 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 42 (3-4):300-317.
    I examine the role moral reasons play in the Mengzi and their relationship to Mengzi's conception of wisdom. Some commentators have argued that agency in early Chinese thought is best characterized as performance based rather than deliberation based. I propose that Mengzi's conception of agency is both performative and deliberative because he understands wisdom as a sort of expert decision making. Consequently, Mengzi relies on moral reasons of two sorts. First, duan-reasons are reasons to act so as to overcome internal (...)
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  9. added 2017-06-13
    Mengzi and Virtue Ethics.Bryan Van Norden - 2003 - Journal of Ecumenical Studies 40 (1-2):120-36.
    I want first to present an overview of what I take to be Mengzi's own systematic ethics, which I shall approach as a version of "virtue ethics," and second to examine some of the standard arguments against Mengzi's position. -/- .
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  10. added 2017-05-30
    Wong on Three Confucian Metaphors for Ethical Development.Christian Miller - 2017 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 16 (4):551-558.
    This is my contribution to a symposium on David Wong’s paper, “Early Confucian Philosophy and the Development of Compassion.” I simply grant Wong his reading of the relevant texts and consider the merits of the ideas about ethical development on their own terms. In particular, my aim is to see how fruitful these ideas might be in the contemporary philosophical landscape.
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  11. added 2017-02-27
    Ren Xing and What It is to Be Truly Human.Dennis Arjo - 2011 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (3):455-473.
  12. added 2016-12-08
    Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics.Wm Theodore de Bary (ed.) - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    _Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics_ is an essential, all-access guide to the core texts of East Asian civilization and culture. Essays address frequently read, foundational texts in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as early modern fictional classics and nonfiction works of the seventeenth century. Building strong links between these writings and the critical traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, this volume shows the vital role of the classics in the shaping of Asian history and in the development (...)
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  13. added 2016-09-02
    Confucian Role Ethics: A Critical Survey.John Ramsey - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (5):235-245.
    This article surveys recent scholarship on Confucian role ethics, examines some of its fundamental commitments, and suggests future directions for scholarship. Role ethics interprets early Confucianism as promoting a relational conception of persons and employs this conception to emphasize how a person's roles and relationships are the source of her ethical obligations and ethical growth. While there is much consensus among role ethic scholars, they disagree over the role of theory in further explicating the view and about the metaphysical basis (...)
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  14. added 2016-09-02
    Confucian Role Ethics and Relational Autonomy in the Mengzi.John Ramsey - 2016 - Philosophy East and West 66 (3):903-922.
    This essay examines whether Confucian role ethics offers resources to identify and redress gender inequality and oppression. On its face, Confucian role ethics seems ill suited for this task for two reasons. First, a central tenet of role ethics is that a person is constituted by her roles. Because roles are constituted by norms that govern them, many social roles are, and have been, historically oppressive. Second, discussions of Confucian role ethics tend to avoid talk of autonomy, yet autonomy is (...)
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  15. added 2016-09-01
    Correlative Reasoning About Water in Mengzi 6A2.Nicholaos Jones - 2016 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (2):193-207.
    Mengzi 孟子 6A2 contains the famous water analogy for the innate goodness of human nature. Some evaluate Mengzi’s reasoning as strong and sophisticated; others, as weak or sophistical. I urge for more nuance in our evaluation. Mengzi’s reasoning fares poorly when judged by contemporary standards of analogical strength. However, if we evaluate the analogy as an instance of correlative thinking within a yin-yang 陰陽 cosmology, his reasoning fares well. That cosmology provides good reason to assert that water tends to flow (...)
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  16. added 2016-04-18
    How Kierkegaard Can Help Us Understand Covering in Analects 13.18.Andrew James Komasinski - 2016 - Asian Philosophy 26 (2):133-148.
    ABSTRACTI suggest that Kierkegaard proves a helpful interlocutor in the debate about Analects 13.18 and the meaning of yin 隱. After surveying the contemporary debate, I argue that Kierkegaard and the Confucians agree on three important points. First, they both present relational selves. Second, both believe certain relationships are integral for moral knowledge. Third, both present a differentiated account of love where our obligations are highest to those with whom we are closest. Moreover, Kierkegaard’s ‘covering’ in the deliberation ‘Love covers (...)
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  17. added 2016-04-10
    Confucian Moral Self Cultivation, 2nd Ed.Philip J. Ivanhoe - 2000 - Hackett.
    A concise and accessible introduction to the moral philosophy of Kongzi (Confucius), Mengzi (Mencius), Xunzi, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, Yan Yuan and Dai Zhen.
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  18. added 2015-08-27
    Seok, Bongrae, Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy.Brian Bruya - 2014 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 13 (4):613-616.
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  19. added 2015-08-27
    Mengzi Xin Xing Zhi Xue.James Behuniak & Roger T. Ames (eds.) - 2005 - She Hui Ke Xue Wen Xian Chu Ban She.
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  20. added 2015-08-27
    Practicality and Spirituality in the Mencius.Irene Bloom - 2003 - In Weiming Tu & Mary Evelyn Tucker (eds.), Confucian Spirituality. Crossroad Pub. Company. pp. 1--233.
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  21. added 2015-06-29
    Mengzi’s Externalist Solution to the Role Dilemma.John Ramsey - 2015 - Asian Philosophy 25 (2):188-206.
    The role dilemma raises a problem for role ethic interpretations of Confucianism. The dilemma arises from the conflict between the demands and obligations of Humaneness and the demands and obligations of roles one occupies. Favoring the demands of Humaneness undermines a role ethic because roles and role-obligations no longer ground the ethic. However, favoring social role-obligations permits immoral and unjust role-obligations and allows for uncharitable readings of Confucianism.This paper examines how Mengzi resolves the dilemma. I argue that Mengzi’s account of (...)
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  22. added 2015-03-14
    The Cultivation of Moral Feelings and Mengzi's Method of Extension.Emily McRae - 2011 - Philosophy East and West 61 (4):587-608.
    Offered here is an interpretation of the ancient Confucian philosopher Mengzi's (372–289 B.C.E.) method of cultivating moral feelings, which he calls "extension." It is argued that this method is both psychologically plausible and an important, but often overlooked, part of moral life. In this interpretation, extending our moral feelings is not a project in logical consistency, analogical reasoning, or emotional intuition. Rather, Mengzi's method of extension is a project in realigning the human heart that harnesses our rational, reflective, and emotional (...)
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  23. added 2014-04-03
    Of One Mind or Two? Query on the Innate Good in Mencius.Whalen Lai - 1990 - Religious Studies 26 (2):247 - 255.
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  24. added 2014-04-02
    Mencius and the Natural Environment.Cecilia Wee - 2009 - Environmental Ethics 31 (4):359-374.
    Environmental ethicists who look toward East Asian philosophies in their quest for a fruitful way of conceiving the relationship of humans to nature often turn to Taoism and Buddhism for inspiration. They rarely turn to Confucianism. Moreover, among those who do look to Confucianism for inspiration, almost no attention is given to the early Confucians, most likely because they are seen as embracing a humanist perspective—that is, they are concerned with how humans should relate to other humans and with the (...)
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  25. added 2014-03-31
    What Cèyǐn Zhī Xīn (Compassion/Familial Affection) Really Is.Myeong-Seok Kim - 2010 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):407-425.
    This essay aims to delineate Mengzi’s view of emotion by analyzing his first ethical sprout, often referred to by the Chinese term cèyǐn zhī xīn 惻隱之心.Previous scholars usually translate this term as “compassion,” “sympathy,” or “commiseration,” in the sense of the painful feeling one feels at the misfortune of others. My goal in this article is to clarify the nature of this painful feeling, and specifically I argue that (1) cèyǐn zhī xīn is primarily construing another being’s misfortune with sympathetic (...)
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  26. added 2014-03-31
    Selves, Virtues, Odd Genres, and Alien Guides: An Approach to Religious Ethics.Lee H. Yearley - 1997 - Journal of Religious Ethics 25 (3):127 - 155.
    Complex tensions define us, and that is why rational evaluative analysis and the deliberate application of principles to cases can, at best, claim to account for only a limited register in the full compass of ethical voice. Close analysis of brief texts from the "Mencius" and Dante's "Inferno" discloses in both an approach to ethical reflection that aims to expand the capacity for virtue, the ethical skillfulness exercised in response and evaluation, through affective engagement of the reader. This approach, a (...)
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  27. added 2014-03-31
    Mencius on Jen-Hsing.Kwong-loi Shun - 1997 - Philosophy East and West 47 (1):1-20.
    The use of the term hsing in the Meng-tzu is discussed, along with Mencius' views on jen-hsing. It is argued that while the use of hsing need not connote something unlearned and shared, Mencius did view jen-hsing in terms of certain unlearned emotional predispositions shared by all jen. He regarded jen as a species distinguished from other animals by its capability of cultural accomplishment, and felt that it is the presence of the emotional predispositions that makes this possible.
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  28. added 2014-03-31
    Mencius on Courage.Bryan W. Norden & Bryan Van Norden - 1997 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 21 (1):237-256.
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  29. added 2014-03-31
    Two Mencian Political Notions in Tokugawa Japan.John Allen Tucker - 1997 - Philosophy East and West 47 (2):233-253.
    Two Mencian political notions are examined: rebellion against tyranny and righteous martyrdom, as explored theoretically by prominent Japanese scholars of the Tokugawa period (1603-1867). It is argued here generally that Confucianism, as represented by the Mencius, was more than a feudal ideology legitimizing the hegemony of Tokugawa shoguns, since these two Mencian notions were advocated and/or opposed by both supporters and opponents of the Tokugawa regime. In the development of this argument, it is also revealed that the two notions were (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-31
    The Concept of Fate in Mencius.Ning Chen - 1997 - Philosophy East and West 47 (4):495-520.
    Mencius, who often spoke of ming in different senses among which only one can be taken as fate, upheld two doctrines of fate--moral determinism and blind, unalterable fate--but he was prone to apply the former to collective entities, and the latter to individual persons. This bi-level distinction, which is at variance with the non-distinction in both Moism and Taoism, exercised a profound influence upon the minds of later Confucians.
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  31. added 2014-03-31
    Human Nature and Biological Nature in Mencius.Irene Bloom - 1997 - Philosophy East and West 47 (1):21-32.
    Ren-xing can be aptly translated as "human nature," representing as it does the Mencian conviction of and sympathy for a common humanity. The enterprise of comparative philosophy is furthered by drawing attention to the large and important conceptual sphere within which Mencius was working, to his concern for the most fundamental realities of human life, and to his translatability across time and cultures.
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  32. added 2014-03-30
    Mencius on Human Nature and Courage.Xinyan Jiang - 1997 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 24 (3):265-289.
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  33. added 2014-03-30
    A Defence of Mencius' Ethical Naturalism.James A. Ryan - 1997 - Asian Philosophy 7 (1):23 – 36.
    I argue that Mencius puts forth a defensible form of ethical naturalism, according to which moral properties, moral motivation, and moral deliberation can be accounted for within the parameters of a naturalistic worldview. On this position, moral properties are the subjectively real properties which acts have in virtue of their corresponding to our most coherent set of shared desires. I give a naturalistic definition of 'right' which, I argue, is implicit in Mencius' philosophy. I address the objection that some of (...)
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  34. added 2014-03-29
    Justification of War in Ancient China.James A. Stroble - 1998 - Asian Philosophy 8 (3):165 – 190.
    The most defensible justifications of war in the European intellectual tradition hold that war is instrumentally necessary for the maintenance of peace and order. An investigation of Ancient Chinese philosophical attitudes towards war calls this assumption into question. The closest parallel to an instrumental concept of war is found in the Legalist school, but historical experience in China has rejected this. The Confucian school, especially Mencius and Xunxi, insists that war is not instrumental in creating social order, but derives from (...)
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  35. added 2014-03-29
    Moral Philosophy and Moral Psychology in Mencius.James A. Ryan - 1998 - Asian Philosophy 8 (1):47 – 64.
    This paper defends both an interpretation of Mencius' moral theory and that theory itself against alternative interpretive defences. I argue that the 'virtue ethics' reading of Mencius wrongly sees him as denying the distinction between moral philosophy and moral psychology. Virtue ethics is flawed, because it makes such a denial. But Mencius' moral theory, in spite of Mencius' obvious interest in moral psychology, does not have that flaw. However, I argue that Mencius is no rationalist. Instead, I show that he (...)
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  36. added 2014-03-28
    Mengzi : Human Nature is Good.Jiang Xinyan - 2009 - In David Edward Jones & Ellen R. Klein (eds.), Asian Texts, Asian Contexts: Encounters with Asian Philosophies and Religions. State University of New York Press.
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  37. added 2014-03-28
    Emotional Control and Virtue in the "Mencius".Manyul Im - 1999 - Philosophy East and West 49 (1):1-27.
    This essay argues against the standard reading of Mencius that the emotions are perfectible or that they require perfecting in order to render a person virtuous. Rejecting this perfectibility reading allows us to explore two interesting philosophical points: (1) we can give an account of moral virtue and moral development that is significantly different from broadly Aristotelian accounts and that provides a psychologically realistic model of the Mencian sage; and (2) this account introduces a conception of emotional engagement as active (...)
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  38. added 2014-03-27
    Mencius's Hermeneutics.Jane Gearney - 2000 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (1):93-100.
  39. added 2014-03-27
    Contemporary Feminist Body Theories and Mencius's Ideas of Body and Mind.Eva Kit Wah Man - 2000 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (2):155–169.
  40. added 2014-03-26
    Gender and Relationship Roles in the Analects and the Mencius.Sin Yee Chan - 2000 - Asian Philosophy 10 (2):115 – 132.
    In this paper I argue that the conception of gender as illustrated in the Analects and the Mencius is basically a functional one that assigns women a domestic role. I show how this conception might imply the exclusion of women from the moral ideal of chun-tzu, which would result in the further subordination of women as wives to men as husbands in the context of the Confucian role system. On the other hand, I show how the Confucian role system can (...)
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  41. added 2014-03-25
    Is Mencius' Doctrine of 'Commiseration' Tenable?Qingping Liu - 2001 - Asian Philosophy 11 (2):73 – 84.
    Mencius regards the 'heart of commiseration' as the 'beginning of humaneness', so as to set up a universal and sufficient foundation for the Confucian ideal of humane love in the human 'heart-nature'. Through a close and critical analysis of the very text of the Mencius, however, this essay tries to show that if in the light of the fundamental spirit of Confucianism, especially in the light of the principles of 'one root' and 'love with distinctions' advocated by Mencius himself in (...)
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  42. added 2014-03-25
    Conservatism and Coherentism in Aristotle, Confucius, and Mencius.James A. Ryan - 2001 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28 (3):275–284.
  43. added 2014-03-25
    The Moral Self and the Perfect Self in Aristotle and Mencius.Jiyuan Yu - 2001 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28 (3):235–256.
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  44. added 2014-03-24
    Action, Emotion, and Inference in Mencius.Manyul Im - 2002 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29 (2):227–249.
  45. added 2014-03-24
    Descartes and Mencius on Self and Community.Cecilia Wee - 2002 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29 (2):193–205.
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  46. added 2014-03-24
    Mencius, Emotion, and Autonomy.Franklin Perkins - 2002 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 29 (2):207–226.
  47. added 2014-03-24
    Mencius, Hume, and Sensibility Theory.Xiusheng Liu - 2002 - Philosophy East and West 52 (1):75-97.
    Sensibility theory claims that, for any object x, x is good/right if and only if x is such as to make a certain sentiment appropriate. A realist position, sensibility theory claims conceptual and explanatory advantages over alternative metaethical theories. Sensibility theory, while revealing, presents a problem of its own: its central thesis involves an explanatory circularity. Here, a Mencius-Hume solution to that problem is offered.
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  48. added 2014-03-23
    "Meno" and "Mencius:" Two Philosophical Dramas.Marthe Chandler - 2003 - Philosophy East and West 53 (3):367-398.
    The conversations between Meno and Socrates and between Mencius and King Xuan are philosophical dramas whose "plots" are intellectual arguments. Although both texts present historical characters at particular times in their lives, the texts were written some years after the events they describe by disciples of Socrates and Mencius. The authors had a number of motives: they wanted to represent what the characters thought and said, to explain the philosophical theories underlying the dramatic plots, and to justify the failure of (...)
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  49. added 2014-03-22
    Interpreting the Mengzi. [REVIEW]P. J. Ivanhoe - 2004 - Philosophy East and West 54 (2):249 - 263.
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  50. added 2014-03-22
    Mencius, the Feminine Perspective and Impartiality.Cecilia Wee - 2003 - Asian Philosophy 13 (1):3 – 13.
    In her well-known In A Different Voice, Gilligan argues that the male and female approaches to morality are fundamentally opposed to each other. The masculine approach emphasizes impartial justice, and the application of a 'hierarchy' of rules. In contrast, the feminine approach is grounded in care and concern for others, and emphasizes flexibility and attention to context when making moral decisions. This paper offers a critique of Gilligan's views through a consideration of Mencian morality. Mencius inhabits the 'feminine' perspective insofar (...)
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