chapter  13
Reflections on filiality, nature, and nurture
ByLISA RAPHALS
Pages 11

In this chapter I reflect on filiality (xiao ) from two distinct directions. One applies what in Greek would be called a Nomos-Phusis perspective to filiality, namely to offer a gendered perspective on the differences between filiality for men and women. The other is to consider xiao as an emotion, rather than as a virtue. ( This is a matter of emphasis; I am not suggesting that filiality is not a virtue!) I concentrate on the strict sense of the term, filial duty to parents, rather than husbands or other relatives. If we adopt a gendered perspective on filiality, there is a radical difference between filiality as it is defined for men and for women. Men’s filiality is “genetically” defined by lineage throughout life, but women’s filiality is expected to shift to the new environment of her husband’s ancestral lineage at marriage. My second nature-nurture continuum concerns whether we are to regard filiality as an emotion, which is arguably “natural,” at least in much traditional theory of the emotions, or as a virtue, which is a product of culture and upbringing.