Toward a confucian ethic of the gift

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (2):175-194 (2008)
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Abstract

In this essay I discuss how the relational ethic characteristic of Classical Confucianism articulates an ethic of gift exchange. I first discuss the tradition that Confucius appropriated and show that the gift was utilized to form, maintain, and symbolize social relationships in Shang, Zhou, and Warring States China. I then go on to discuss the implications of this view by addressing two difficulties of gift exchange that are often discussed in the literature: the use of gifts to indebt or control others and the inability of the gift to fully express one’s sentiments. This essay not only shows that Confucian ethics has much to say on the matter but also demonstrates that ritual action is still relevant in modern contexts.

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Citations of this work

Confucius and Aristotle on the goods of friendship.Eric C. Mullis - 2010 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):391-405.

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References found in this work

Totality and infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh,: Duquesne University Press.
Totality and infinity: an essay on exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Hingham, MA: distribution for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Boston.
Confucius--the secular as sacred.Herbert Fingarette - 1972 - New York,: Harper & Row.
Mencius.D. C. Lau - 1984 - Penguin Classics. Edited by D. C. Lau.

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