Comparative Philosophy 4 (1):103-129 (2013)

Sean Walsh
University of Notre Dame (PhD)
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Normal 0 false false false EN-US ZH-TW X-NONE It is commonly believed that impartial utilitarian moral theories have significant demands that we help the global poor, and that the partial virtue ethics of Mencius and Aristotle do not. This ethical partiality found in these virtue ethicists has been criticized, and some have suggested that the partialistic virtue ethics of Mencius and Aristotle are parochial (i.e., overly narrow in their scope of concern). I believe, however, that the ethics of Mencius and Aristotle are both more cosmopolitan than many presume and also are very demanding. In this paper, I argue that the ethical requirements to help the poor and starving are very demanding for the quintessentially virtuous person in Mencius and Aristotle. The ethical demands to help even the global poor are demanding for Mencius’ jun-zi ( 君子 chün-tzu / junzi ) and Aristotle’s megalopsuchos . I argue that both the jun-zi and megalopsuchos have a wide scope of concern for the suffering of poor people. I argue that the relevant virtues of the jun-zi and megalopsuchos are also achievable for many people. The moral views of Mencius and Aristotle come with strong demands for many of us to work harder to alleviate global poverty. 
Keywords Aristotle  Megalopsuchos (Magnanimous Man)  Global Poverty  Parochial  Ren (benevolence)  Demandingness  Ethics  Partiality  Junzi (Superior Gentleman)  Mencius
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