chapter  3
33 Pages

The Analects’ Silences

Where we seek to lend theoretical form and order to the Analects’ moral reasoning, to fi nd an architectural structure that can effectively blueprint the commitments that undergird its various more specifi c moral claims, we fi nd little in the text that appears suffi cient to this purpose. It appears, that is, to evince little interest in theoretical concerns. While the Analects contains features I believe operate well within an exemplarist paradigm, I also take what the text does not say as signifi cant. One of exemplarism’s most potent advantages, I believe, consists in its ability to well address perceived gaps or omissions in the Analects’ moral reasoning. This explanatory power is also, it should be noted, what most distinguishes exemplarism from what I term a “bottom up” reading of the text’s exemplars, a reading in which exemplars are sequentially privileged but ultimately recede in importance as we secure conceptual footing elsewhere. Thus while I believe exemplarism well fi ts what the text does say, I begin here, with what it does not say.