The Bridge of Benevolence: Hutcheson and Mencius [Book Review]

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy (2013)

Alejandra Mancilla
University of Oslo
The Scottish sentimentalist Francis Hutcheson and the Chinese Confucianist Mencius give benevolence (ren) a key place in their respectivemoral theories, as the first and foundational virtue. Leaving aside differences in style and method, my purpose in this essay is to underline this similarity by focusing on four common features: first, benevolence springs from compassion, an innate and universal feeling shared by all human beings; second, its objects are not only human beings but also animals; third, it is sensitive to proximity; and finally, it has to be constantly cultivated in order to become a character trait. I will conclude with some brief remarks as to how this understanding of benevolence as rooted in feeling rather than reason, and in personal rather than impersonal relationships, helps to illuminate part of the discussion in moral philosophy today.
Keywords Francis Hutcheson  Mencius  benevolence  sympathy
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-012-9313-y
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References found in this work BETA

Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair MacIntyre - 1988 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Mencius. Mencius - 2009 - Columbia University Press.
Mencius and Early Chinese Thought.Kwong-loi Shun - 1997 - Stanford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Heart of Compassion in Mengzi 2A6.Dobin Choi - 2019 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 18 (1):59-76.
Rethinking Dignity.Kristi Giselsson - 2018 - Human Rights Review 19 (3):331-348.
Recent Works on Hutcheson.Christina Chuang - 2015 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (2):115-121.

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