chapter  3
22 Pages

Confucian virtue

ByRichard Kim

On the Confucian view, the development of good human relationships requires the development of virtues and the establishment of well-ordered families and communities. Many recent scholars who advocate a virtue ethical interpretation of the early Confucians have also endorsed some form of ethical particularism as best capturing the ethical reasoning of early Confucian thinkers. The Confucian virtues can be understood as providing certain broad principles for action: one should never act against the virtues of righteousness, filial piety, benevolence, or ritual propriety. A number of prominent scholars of early Confucianism have defended the view that the early Confucian moral tradition can be understood as a form of virtue ethics. Most virtue ethicists who take an account of flourishing or well-being as essential to an ethics of virtue believe that the virtues benefit the possessor; one of the central features of virtues is that they are constitutive of a flourishing life.