Maybe Happiness is Loving our Fathers: Clarifying Confucius

In Nease Ron & Austin Michael (eds.), Fatherhood and Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell (2011)
Andrew Komasinski
Hokkaido University
This article looks at fatherhood through a Confucian lens of ritual, excellence, and wisdom. Ritual within society, like grammar in speech, provides a means of expression for thoughts and feelings. Confucius’ Analects contains an implicit virtue ethic focused on excellence in family relationships through ritual. I contrast Confucius’ treatment of law and family with Plato’s dilemma in Euthyphro. Practical wisdom then provides the key to knowing when to use what ritual to express one's feelings such that this is conveyed to the recipient. Finally, I argue that "The Prodigal Son" typifies excellent fatherhood in its wise use of ritual.
Keywords Confucianism  fatherhood  virtue ethics
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