TITLE

The Cheng Brothers on Virtue (de): Is a Virtuous Person Self-Centered?

AUTHOR(S)
Yong Huang
PUB. DATE
December 2010
SOURCE
Journal of Sino-Western Communications;Dec2010, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p12
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
There has been an impressive revival of virtue ethics in the last a few decades. While it appeared mainly as a criticism of the dominant moral theories, consequentialism and deontology, as it is now fully developed, it has also faced a series of criticisms or objections from its rivals. While it has successfully addressed a number of such criticisms and objections, it has not addressed and, if limited to the resources in the Western philosophical traditions, cannot address, with equal success, other criticisms and objections. In this paper, I discuss the self-centeredness objection to virtue ethics: since a virtuous person is primarily concerned with his or her own virtues, a virtuous person is self-centered. While the Aristotelian virtue ethics can respond that a virtuous person's concern with his or her own virtue, due to the nature of the virtue itself, requires him or her to be concerned with others, it fails to respond to the objection on two deeper levels: (1) When a virtuous person is concerned with others, he or she is concerned with their external well-being, while when he or she is concerned with himself or herself, he is concerned with his or her virtue; since a virtuous person considers the internal virtue to be more important than the external well-being, a virtuous person is still self-centered. (2) It seems a virtuous person is concerned with other people's well-being mainly because he or she can therefore become a virtuous person. In this sense, a virtuous person is foundationally self-centered. In this paper, I shall argue that the Cheng Brothers' neo-Confucian virtue ethics can provide an adequate response to the self-centeredness objection on these two deeper levels.
ACCESSION #
61014588

 

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