Ren-li, reciprocity, judgment, and the question of openness to the Other in the Confucian Lunyu

Journal of Moral Education 42 (4):430-442 (2013)
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Here the author takes ren-humanity to be, as Confucius says, an underlying, ineffable, potentially universal human quality, and draws a distinction between three different types of moral capacity in the Lunyu: the man of ren?s capacity for li-proper interactions, his capacity for total reciprocity with another, and his capacity to make moral discriminations. The nature of these moral judgments is then discussed in relation to the praxis of entering into shu-reciprocity with another and that of recognizing others? actions as being li-proper. A key question is that of whether even an intuitive feeling of commonality, if not identity, with another man-of-ren involves a subjective judgment. Confucius? view that foreigners can respect ren even if they may not possess it is also discussed. The author suggests that any viable ethical model would need to maintain a universal standard of humaneness while also including a maximum degree of openness to the other



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Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.Wing-Tsit Chan - 1963 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Thinking Through Confucius.David L. Hall & Roger T. Ames - 1987 - Philosophy East and West 41 (2):241-254.
A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy.A. C. Graham & Wing-Tsit Chan - 1964 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 84 (1):60.

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