Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character: Engaging Joel J. Kupperman (SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture)
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A consideration of Confucian ethics that employs the work and concerns of the eminent comparative ethicist Joel J. Kupperman.
In this volume, leading scholars in Asian and comparative philosophy take the work of Joel J. Kupperman as a point of departure to consider new perspectives on Confucian ethics. Kupperman is one of the few eminent Western philosophers to have integrated Asian philosophical traditions into his thought, developing a character-based ethics synthesizing Western, Chinese, and Indian philosophies. With their focus on Confucian ethics, contributors respond, expand, and engage in critical dialogue with Kupperman’s views. Kupperman joins the conversation with responses and comments that conclude the volume.
“…the essays in Moral Cultivation and Confucian Character all have distinctive merits of their own, making the volume a lively platform of contemporary scholarship on ethics in its own right.” — SirReadaLot.org
“Joel Kupperman is rightly celebrated for his success at drawing on Eastern traditions to enlarge our (Western) understanding of key issues in philosophy. The impressive essays in this volume extend Kupperman’s approach with stimulating reflections on character, emotions, and well-being.” — Stephen C. Angle, author of Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy
“Each essay by a major figure in comparative philosophy is a masterful engagement with the Confucian tradition that reveals its resources for us today. Scholars and students of both Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy will want to read this impressive volume.” — Owen Flanagan, author of The Bodhisattva’s Brain: Buddhism Naturalized
that an ethics of roles inspired by our own reading of the classical Confucian texts offers a real alternative to a foundational individualism that can constitute one such line of engagement. The challenge of role ethics, however, will not be worth much unless accounts of human interactions can be given in nonindividualistic moral terms that do not fly in the face of our experiences in and of family life, and our intuitions about them. Thus we want to take the opportunity of this celebration of
13. Kupperman 1991, 38, 43–44. 14. Kupperman 1991, 47 15. Kupperman 1991, 19. 16. Kupperman 1991, 59. 42 Roger T. Ames and Henry Rosemont, Jr. 17. There are two versions of this essay, with the later one included in Kupperman 2004, and the earlier one in Kupperman 1999. 18. Kupperman 2004, 115. 19. Kupperman 2004, 117. 20. See Fingarette 1983. 21. Analects 6.30. 22. Kupperman 1991, 43. 23. See Ames 2011, especially 102–114. 24. See Rosemont and Ames 2008, 105. 25. This private/public
dikaiosune “justice.” Some have translated 義 (yi) as “justice” and see Kongzi as centrally concerned with this virtue. While there are reasons to see similarity here, there is no good case for equating these terms. For early Confucians, yi as a virtue concerns a sense of falling short of the proper norm or ideal. In this general respect, it resembles Aristotle’s sense of justice, but, unlike the Aristotelian virtue, yi was not thought of as a disposition to accord with the law and fairness and
virtues; it is about building a character as a way of life, which is less likely to lend itself to compartmentalization. In his view, Western virtue ethics have largely overlooked the interrelationships between virtues and failings within a character. Drawing insights from his comparative study, Kupperman sheds light on many things that people who work exclusively in one tradition tend to miss. In his book, Value and What Follows (1999), he focuses on how judgments of values connect with
one into that future course that need not be based on reasons of relationship. On this matter I think Frankfurt is close to the truth. Of course, depending on how that future course works out, one might be provided with new reasons to love, of either the relational or nonrelational kind. But sometimes one must want to take that leap in order to get the reasons one eventually will have. Thus, I propose that each of the kinds of reasons to love, and no reasons at all, can play a role in the flow of