Regret and Moral Maturity: A Response to Michael Ing and Manyul Im

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (4):579-587 (2015)
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Abstract

This essay elaborates on my essay, “Confucius’ Complaints and the Analects’ Account of the Good Life,” responding to issues and criticisms raised by Michael Ing and Manyul Im. Ing’s and Im’s critiques most invite reflection on regret, both as it might situate in Confucius’ own life and as it could feature more broadly in developed moral maturity. I consider two modes of regret: regret concerning compromises of conscience and end-of-life regret. The latter can naturally include elements of the former, but may nonetheless have special features not exhausted by it. I argue that the model of Confucius is consistent with versions of both of these forms of regret while also acknowledging that where the Analects is concerned, much of what we might say about regret will inevitably be somewhat speculative. The essay thus dwells in some of the ambiguities suggested by the Analects.

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Amy Olberding
University of Oklahoma

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