Journal of Religious Ethics 45 (3):463-480 (2017)

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Abstract
This essay examines whether an invocation of an epistemological privilege on the part of supposed moral experts prevents potential students from being able to evaluate among potential candidates for the role of plausible moral teacher. Throughout, it works to demonstrate that it is possible for even the untutored student to distinguish between a fanatic and a moral expert. In particular, this essay focuses on the version of virtue ethics espoused by the early Chinese philosopher Xunzi. It argues that by reflecting on the attributes of fanatics, as well as on Xunzi's ideas and arguments about students and teachers, it is possible to arrive at a general set of principles that provide beginners with the tools necessary to distinguish dangerous fanatics from plausible moral teachers, even given the fact that both claim for themselves an epistemological privilege.
Keywords Confucianism  Xunzi  fanaticism  moral experts  moral teachers  virtue ethics
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DOI 10.1111/jore.12186
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