Justin Tiwald
San Francisco State University
In Stephen Angle’s Sagehood, he contends that Neo-Confucian philosophers reject ways of moral thinking that draw hard and fast lines between self-directed or prudential concerns (about what is good for me) and other-directed or moral concerns (about what is right, just, virtuous, etc.), and suggests that they are right to do so. In this paper, I spell out Angle’s arguments and interpretation in greater detail and then consider whether they are faithful to one of the chief figures in Neo-Confucian thought. I begin by identifying some of the better-known ways in which moral philosophers give special treatment to prudential considerations, and say which of these Angle’s reading of the Neo-Confucians appears to rule out. After laying this groundwork, I proceed to test Angle’s interpretation against the moral thought of history’s most influential Neo-Confucian philosopher, Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200), arguing that even on Angle’s own reading, there are certain respects in which Zhu preserves the distinction, although by Angle’s lights these ways are perhaps less pernicious than their contemporary equivalents. I also look closely at how Angle uses the psychological structure of humane love (ren 仁) to undermine the prudence-versus-morality distinction. Here I suggest that the better way to phrase his point is to say that prudence drops out or becomes an ethically incoherent concept, which is something quite different from rejecting or collapsing the distinction between prudence and morality
Keywords Neo-Confucianism  Zhu Xi  Prudence
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11712-013-9334-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,518
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
Moral Saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The Ethics of Care and Empathy. [REVIEW]M. Slote - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):190-192.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Does Zhu Xi Distinguish Prudence From Morality?Justin Tiwald - 2013 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (3):359-368.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Can Morality Do Without Prudence?David Kaspar - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.
Moral and Political Prudence in Kant.Eric Sean Nelson - 2004 - International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):305-319.
Dong Ya Zhu Zi Xue de Tong Diao Yu Yi Qu.Junjie Huang & Wei-Chieh Lin (eds.) - 2006 - Guo Li Taiwan da Xue Chu Ban Zhong Xin.
Trouble with Korean Confucianism: Scholar-Official Between Ideal and Reality.Kim Sungmoon - 2009 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):29-48.
Zhu XI (Chu Hsi, 1130-1200 CE).Kirill O. Thompson - 2007 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


Added to PP index

Total views
78 ( #130,232 of 2,421,645 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #103,153 of 2,421,645 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes