The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue (review)

Philosophy East and West, Volume 60, Number 2,pp. 303-306.

By Christian Helmut Wenzel

The Ethics of Confucius and Aristotle: Mirrors of Virtue by Jiyuan Yu offers an introductory comparison in overview between Confucian and Aristotelian understandings of virtue. By "Confucian ethics" Yu means, in a broad sense, what is included in the four classics: the Analects, the Mencius, the Great Learning, and the Doctrine of the Mean. On the Greek side, the author draws mainly on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. The topics covered, or at least touched upon, are many. Among them, after an introductory discussion of the nature of comparison in general, are: eudaimonia (happiness) and aretē (virtue) in comparison with de 德 (virtue) and ren 仁 (benevolence); the nature of humanity in general; Aristotle and Confucius in opposition with Socrates; ergon (function) compared with xing 性 (nature); the mean as inner and outer; disposition and archery; li 禮 (ritual) and ethos (habit); the political animal in Aristotle compared with the relational self in Confucius; the interplay between human nature and cultivation; the role of family and politics; phronesis (practical wisdom) in comparison with yi 義 (appropriateness); the relevance of traditional values; the plurality and unity of virtue; forms of individuality and self-love; the highest good (God or Heaven) and external goods; and theoria (contemplation) versus the more practical cheng 誠 (self-completion).

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(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010 by cait
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