The confucian relational concept of the person and its modern predicament


Abstract
: The Confucian relational concept of the person has been proposed as an epistemically more cogent and ethically more attractive alternative to that of liberal individualism. Two arguments are raised against this proposal without defending liberal individualism. Ethically, Confucianism is vitiated by certain unattractive features that cannot be removed without reducing the Confucian relational concept of the person to an abstract and not very helpful notion of human relatedness. Epistemically, Confucianism commits the essentialist fallacy of treating its own concept of human relations as reflecting the nature of things. In view of these limitations, the Confucian relational concept of the person does not provide a viable framework for dealing with social issues including bioethics.
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DOI 10.1353/ken.1999.0022
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