The Confucian Ren and Care Debate: Reassessment, Development, and Future Directions

Philosophy Compass 17 (9):e12868 (2022)
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It has been three decades since comparative philosophers began to associate the Confucian concept of ren 仁 with contemporary Western care ethics. It would be useful to revisit the issue and to reassess related debates. In this essay, I first contextualize this discourse by tracing the emergence of care as a philosophical concept in the West and explicate the Confucian concept of ren in terms of care as it is formulated in classic texts. Then I respond to challenges, including opposing views from influential care ethicists Nel Noddings and Virginia Held. I also discuss some promising studies to further this discourse.



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Chenyang Li
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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