Against Individualism: A Confucian Rethinking of the Foundations of Morality, Politics, Family, and Religion presents Henry Rosemont’s reflection on possible Confucian-based avenues for considering solutions to contemporary moral, political, and spiritual problems. Rosemont contends that the ideologies of capitalist economies, which are based largely on competition, and belief in autonomous individuality, including abstract notions of human rights, are fundamentally unable to deal effectively with many of today’s most pressing issues. For example, he argues against appealing to universalist principles in an attempt to dissolve ethical and political tensions between cultures and states. In accordance with this orientation, his work is then best judged on the contributions it makes to constructing new perspectives on the problems addressed rather than how accurately he represents any tradition. In fact, Rosemont readily admits that he may be “unfair” to individualism or “creative[ly] misreading” early Confucianism. In this review article, I will argue that some of the differences Rosemont finds between his Confucian critique of individualism and the communitarian critique of individualism are, in fact, not all that dissimilar. For example, while Rosemont sees Alasdair MacIntyre and Michael Sandel as “individualists,” the general orientation of their communitarian response to libertarianism shares much in common with the Confucian “role ethics” perspective on the person and morality or ethics. In this way, I will argue that while Confucian role ethics and communitarian perspectives certainly have their respective emphases, they also have a lot to offer one another.
Keywords Confucianism   individualism   role ethics   Chinese philosophy   comparative philosophy   communitarianism   conceptions of self
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17570638.2016.1200322
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,290
External links

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

Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary.Roger T. Ames - 2011 - The Chinese University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Virtue Ethics, The.Edward Slingerland - 2001 - Journal of Religious Ethics 29 (1):97-125.
Confucian Role Ethics.A. Nuyen - 2012 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 4 (1):141-150.
Collectivistic Individualism: Dewey and MacIntyre.Lee A. McBride - 2006 - Contemporary Pragmatism 3 (1):69-83.
Philosophy of Education: Becoming Less Western, More African?Penny Enslin & Kai Horsthemke - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (2):177-190.
The Confucian Relational Concept of the Person and its Modern Predicament.Ji-wei Ci - 1999 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 9 (4):325-346.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #772,437 of 2,519,272 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #407,861 of 2,519,272 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes