On Ni’s Dao of the Family
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract in English only.
Professor Ni’s essay on the role of the family provides insights into Confucian ethics. Here I indicate four points. First, the proper approach to understanding Confucian ethics is through virtue theory, not deontology. Second, filial piety can be used as the pretext for grabbing egoism. Third, filial piety entails an equilibrium between private and public interests. Fourth, the reconstruction of the three cardinal guides is necessary in modern society. I also point out two problems with the essay. First, the Confucian idea of marriage is based on the intergenerational relationship between parents and children, not romantic love between a man and a woman. Second, in practice, the strategy is important but the principle is fundamental.
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