chapter  2
23 Pages

Confucian moral psychology and well-being

ByRichard Kim

This chapter provides key elements of early Confucian moral psychology. The virtues on the early Confucian view are not exactly what contemporary philosophers would want to call ‘moral’ virtues. In assuming a close connection between psychology and normativity, the Confucians make a clear distinction between facts and values. Both Mencius and Xunzi offer different ways of conceptualizing human nature that can be fruitfully connected to contemporary developments in moral psychology. Philosophers have started to explore the extent to which Mencius’s moral psychology can be characterized in terms of moral modularity. Xunzi denies certain key elements of Mencius’s moral psychology, especially the existence of moral inclinations that can be guided to move human beings toward virtue. Rather than aiming to settle the debate between Mencius and Xunzi or argue for the correct interpretation of this debate, the chapter focuses on the issues that are philosophically relevant to well-being.