Human Nature and Moral Sprouts: Mencius on the Pollyanna Problem

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):140-162 (2018)
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This article responds to a common criticism of Aristotelian naturalism known as the Pollyanna Problem, the objection that Aristotelian naturalism, when combined with recent empirical research, generates morally unacceptable conclusions. In developing a reply to this objection, I draw upon the conception of human nature developed by the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius, and build up an account of ethical naturalism that provides a satisfying response to the Pollyanna Problem while also preserving what is most attractive about Aristotelian naturalism.



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Richard Kim
Loyola University, Chicago