Moral obligation and moral motivation in confucian role-based ethics

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):1-11 (2009)
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Abstract

How is the Confucian moral agent motivated to do what he or she judges to be right or good? In western philosophy, the answer to a question such as this depends on whether one is an internalist or externalist concerning moral motivation. In this article, I will first interpret Confucian ethics as role-based ethics and then argue that we can attribute to Confucianism a position on moral motivation that is neither internalist nor externalist but somewhere in between. I will then illustrate my claim with my reading of Mencius 6A4, showing that it is superior to readings found in the literature, which typically assume that Mencius is an internalist.

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