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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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The Scope of Ethics: Dialogue with Slote and Murdoch

The Scope of Ethics: Dialogue with Slote and Murdoch

(p.77) 5 The Scope of Ethics: Dialogue with Slote and Murdoch

Stephen C. Angle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Despite the differences between Michael Slote and Iris Murdoch—and between them and the book's Neo-Confucian sources—Slote and Murdoch make excellent conversation partners on the subject of harmony, offering important insights and clarifications, while at the same time they are rewarded with ideas from the Confucian tradition that complement or improve their own views. The key points of dialogue include the following: (1) Drawing on Slote, Confucians can distinguish between particularist and aggregative caring, which solves a long-standing problem about caring for strangers. (2) Drawing on the Confucians, Slote can better-ground his idea of “balanced caring” by recognizing the reverence we should have for what the Neo-Confucians call universal coherence. (3) After a few qualifications, Murdoch can help us (and Slote) to see how reverence for universal coherence can indeed play needed justificatory and motivational roles, but (4) Murdoch's appeal to a transcendent notion of Good needs either serious modification or rejection. Finally, (5) both Slote and Murdoch can learn from the Neo-Confucians about the proper ways in which we should value ourselves.

Keywords:   Michael Slote, Iris Murdoch, harmony, reverence, balanced caring, strangers, transcendence, self-concern

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