Confucius’s Ethics (Ethics-1, M34)

In A. Raghuramaraju (ed.), Philosophy, E-PG Pathshala. Delhi: India, Department of Higher Education (NMEICT) (2016)

Authors
Shyam Ranganathan
York University
Abstract
Confucius, being one of the earliest of Chinese philosophers that we know of, seems uniquely responsible for setting the tone of Chinese philosophy. His focus on ethical questions of the Way no doubt serves as a reminder of the type of perennial questions that philosophers should answer. In this module, I outline the main concepts of the Analects, followed by an elaboration on the central Confucian ethical doctrines: The doctrine of the Mean, Filial Piety, Patriarchal Hierarchy and the Golden Rule. This is followed by a discussion of the Analects’ comments on politics, and finally, a discussion of the underlying metaethics or moral semantics of Confucius's ethics: The Rectification of Names. Confucius's ethics constitutes a uniquely Asian source of Humanism, and while similar to the ethics of Aristotle, provides a distinctive account of moral theory and Virtue Ethics.
Keywords Doctrine of the Mean  The Way  Li  Jen  Rectification of Names
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