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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31803

Title: Xunzi's Ethical Thought and Moral Psychology
Authors: Kim, Doil
Advisor: Shun, Kwong-loi
Shen, Vincent
Department: Philosophy
Keywords: Ethics
Moral psychology
Confucianism
Chinese Philosophy
Issue Date: 10-Jan-2012
Abstract: In this dissertation, I lay the foundations for the development of a unique ethical theory, titled “Ethical Harmonism,” on the basis of the early Confucian Xunzi’s thought. First, I attempt to understand Xunzi’s fundamental ethical position centered on his thought of the ideal state for humans. Second, I explore the nature of two attitudes that one should develop in order to create and maintain the ideal state for humans. Xunzi’s ethical position is characterized primarily in terms of “the final good” that it requires one to seek to attain. For Xunzi, the final good is a certain holistic state that every human has reason to create and maintain cooperatively, namely what I call “harmony.” Harmony is the ideal state in which all humans form a well-unified whole in such a way that they interact with one another by properly recognizing various kinds of persons and by appropriately responding to each kind. I also provide a preliminary reconstruction of Xunzi’s view by raising questions concerning whether his holistic view can reasonably accommodate part of contemporary individualistic ethical sentiments, especially, that associated with such a notion as human rights. This reconstruction is intended to serve to develop “Ethical Harmonism,” which is a working-label for the most defensible Xunzian position that is currently in the development stage. For Xunzi, the creation and maintenance of harmony depend on all humans’ proper development of two attitudes, qin (love) and zun (respect). For Xunzi, all humans should control their naturally unlimited desire by cultivating love and respect; and, by adopting these two attitudes in interaction with one another, they can jointly bring about harmony in society. I develop theories of these two attitudes especially by clarifying how each of the two attitudes is understood as a distinctive way of responding to certain kinds of person. I further explain how these two attitudes work cooperatively in ways that promote harmony. My study will provide a new systematic interpretation of two central concepts in Confucian ethics that are grounded in love and respect, namely ren (widely translated as humanness) and yi (widely translated as righteousness).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31803
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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