Does Zhu Xi Distinguish Prudence from Morality?

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (3):359-368 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In Stephen Angle’s Sagehood, he contends that Neo-Confucian philosophers reject ways of moral thinking that draw hard and fast lines between self-directed or prudential concerns (about what is good for me) and other-directed or moral concerns (about what is right, just, virtuous, etc.), and suggests that they are right to do so. In this paper, I spell out Angle’s arguments and interpretation in greater detail and then consider whether they are faithful to one of the chief figures in Neo-Confucian thought. I begin by identifying some of the better-known ways in which moral philosophers give special treatment to prudential considerations, and say which of these Angle’s reading of the Neo-Confucians appears to rule out. After laying this groundwork, I proceed to test Angle’s interpretation against the moral thought of history’s most influential Neo-Confucian philosopher, Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200), arguing that even on Angle’s own reading, there are certain respects in which Zhu preserves the distinction, although by Angle’s lights these ways are perhaps less pernicious than their contemporary equivalents. I also look closely at how Angle uses the psychological structure of humane love (ren 仁) to undermine the prudence-versus-morality distinction. Here I suggest that the better way to phrase his point is to say that prudence drops out or becomes an ethically incoherent concept, which is something quite different from rejecting or collapsing the distinction between prudence and morality



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,273

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Can Morality Do Without Prudence?David Kaspar - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.
Moral and Political Prudence in Kant.Eric Sean Nelson - 2004 - International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (3):305-319.
Cong Kangde dao Zhu Xi: Bai lu dong jiang yan lu.Gaozheng Zhu - 2011 - Hangzhou: Zhejiang da xue chu ban she.
Dong Ya Zhu zi xue de tong diao yu yi qu.Junjie Huang & Wei-Chieh Lin (eds.) - 2006 - Taibei shi: Guo li Taiwan da xue chu ban zhong xin.
Trouble with korean confucianism: Scholar-official between ideal and reality.Kim Sungmoon - 2009 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (1):29-48.
Zhu XI (chu hsi, 1130-1200 CE).Kirill O. Thompson - 2007 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


Added to PP

90 (#162,351)

6 months
6 (#160,175)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Justin Tiwald
University of Hong Kong

References found in this work

The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Moral saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
The Ethics of Care and Empathy.Michael Slote - 2001 - New York: Routledge.

View all 14 references / Add more references