Confucian Role Ethics
Comparative and Continental Philosophy 4 (1) (2012)
Confucian Role Ethics: A Vocabulary, by Roger T. Ames, The Chinese University Press and The University of Hawai’i Press, 2011, 332 pp., pb. $31.00, ISBN-13: 9780824835767. In his new book, Ames defends his interpretation of Confucian ethics as “role ethics” through a detailed examination of the Confucian vocabulary. Through such vocabulary, we can see that the Confucian self is a being that cultivates itself as it lives and matures in the context of the family and society. As role ethics, Confucianism is distinct from the Western tradition and its Greek roots. However, in order to highlight the contrast between Confucianism and the Western tradition, Ames paints a picture of the latter that is a little misleading. As it turns out, there are many strands in the Western philosophical fabric, including those in the Continental tradition, where we can find conceptions of the self not all that different from what is in Confucianism as interpreted by Ames
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