Cultivating Oneself after the Images of Sages: Another Version of Ethical Personalism

Asian Philosophy 22 (1):51-62 (2012)
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Countering the general reading of Confucian ethics as a form of virtue ethics or humanistic ethics, this essay reads Confucian ethics as a form of ethical personalism. Doing so, it examines the ethical orientations in the Confucian classics, The Analects, Da Xue, and others, pointing out that the touchstone concept of Confucian ethics taught in these classics is the person, recalling the Confucian motto of ethical cultivation, ?inner sagehood and outer kinghood?. It demonstrates that only the name of personalism describes well the substance of Confucian ethics and captures its essence. It indicates that Confucian personalism is characterized by its starting not from the concept of the person or personhood as a divinely or naturally given, something akin to the Hindu Atman, but from the concept of the person or personhood that must be substantialized in ethical cultivation, e.g., cultivating a personhood after the image of the sage



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Xunwu Chen
University of Texas at San Antonio

Citations of this work

On the “Virtue Turn” and the Problem of Categorizing Chinese Thought.Eric L. Hutton - 2015 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (3):331-353.

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References found in this work

The Ethics of Authenticity.Charles Taylor - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.Wing-Tsit Chan - 1963 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.A. C. Graham & Wing-Tsit Chan - 1964 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 84 (1):60.
Mencius and Early Chinese Thought.Kwong-loi Shun - 1997 - Stanford University Press.

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