The Problem of Autonomy in Confucian Ethics

Modern Philosophy 6:105-111 (2006)

Confucian ethics is self-discipline, many scholars have been thoroughly explored the issue, but concluded no agreement. In this paper, by comparing the Confucian ethics as embodied in the autonomous factors and the Western philosophy of "self" concept, that the main difference is that scholars of Western philosophy in "self" concept of the two constituent elements of the different focus. Confucian ethics does not exist as individual rights-based "self", but as a moral ideal in the sense that it really can be said to be "self-regulation" of. Confucian "self" concept provides us with a more natural doctrine of people's ideas. Is Confucian ethics autonomous? Many scholars have held profound discussions concerning this issue, only to reach contradictory conclusions. This paper compares the idea of ​​self-governance of persons in Confucian ethics and the concept of "moral autonomy" in Western philosophy, and concludes that the disagreement between two camps of scholars lies in the fact that they are emphasizing different constitutive elements of the term "autonomy". There is no "autonomy" as the basis of personal rights in Confucian ethics, but Confucian ethics is autonomous understood as a moral ideal. Moreover, the Confucian version of "autonomy" provides us with the basis for a more naturalistic understanding of human beings
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