A defence of mencius' ethical naturalism

Asian Philosophy 7 (1):23 – 36 (1997)
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Abstract

I argue that Mencius puts forth a defensible form of ethical naturalism, according to which moral properties, moral motivation, and moral deliberation can be accounted for within the parameters of a naturalistic worldview. On this position, moral properties are the subjectively real properties which acts have in virtue of their corresponding to our most coherent set of shared desires. I give a naturalistic definition of 'right' which, I argue, is implicit in Mencius' philosophy. I address the objection that some of the contemporary-sounding views which I attribute to Mencius are positions which are alien to the ancient thinker, and I argue that the version of Mencius given here is not only quite faithful to Mencius but also a true metaethical theory.

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James Ryan
University of Miami (PhD)

Citations of this work

Moral Philosophy and Moral Psychology in Mencius.James A. Ryan - 1998 - Asian Philosophy 8 (1):47 – 64.

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References found in this work

Principia Ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Dover Publications.
Moral Realism.Peter Railton - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (2):163-207.
Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior.Daniel C. Dennett - 1989 - Journal of the History of Biology 22 (2):361-367.

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