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SagehoodThe Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy$
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Stephen C. Angle

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385144.001.0001

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De 彻/Virtue

De 彻/Virtue

(p.51) 3 De 彻/Virtue

Stephen C. Angle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that we can use “virtue” as what Aaron Stalnaker has called a “bridge concept” to facilitate comparative dialogue between Neo-Confucian discussions centered around “de” and current work in virtue ethics. The chapter traces early uses and theories concerning de, drawing on the work of Chinese scholars like Chen Lai and others. It then turns to a detailed look at uses of de in Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, and explicates the relation between de—which functions very much like “virtue” functions in Western philosophies—and other key ideas like coherence (li), heart-mind (xin), and humaneness (ren). The chapter also looks at the role of rules in a virtue-based ethics. On the basis of this analysis, the chapter concludes that Neo-Confucianism is a virtue ethics.

Keywords:   Aaron Stalnaker, bridge concept, virtue ethics, Chen Lai, rules

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