Person-Creating and Filial Piety

Journal of Value Inquiry:1-24 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper offers a theory of filial piety on which piety is the ethical virtue that responds to the action of person-creating. Piety is the virtue of a creature qua creature. I begin by identifying the action of person-creating as the action of a parent. I then offer some points from the philosophy of action to delineate the action of person-creating. Next, I explain the metaphysical states that this action gives rise to and their value. Parent and child fall in the category of relatives, discussed by Aristotle in his Categories. More specifically, Aristotle says that parent and child are relatives as creator and created. Agreeing with but going beyond Aristotle, I show how parent and child are creator and created as paradigm and image. A pious child is one who images their paradigm well. A child does this by participating in and perfecting the person-creating action of their parent, that is, by being a good person. I argue for the theory’s acceptance on the grounds that it better explains common intuitive judgments about filial piety than do the gratitude theory and the special goods theory (the two most influential and plausible competing theories of filial piety in the philosophical literature).

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Marcus Hunt
Concordia University Chicago

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References found in this work

The Grounds of Moral Status.Julie Tannenbaum & Agnieszka Jaworska - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:0-0.
Love.Bennett W. Helm - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Gratitude.Fred R. Berger - 1975 - Ethics 85 (4):298-309.

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