Ethics and Politics in Classical Confucian Thought: A Response to David Elstein

Ethics and Politics in Classical Confucian Thought: A Response to David Elstein individual matter as in liberalism. The government should provide instruction and encouragement of certain virtues, even with the understanding that most people will never become sages or junzi. In contrast to other scholars who argue that political order is instrumentally good for leading to ethical development, El Amine argues that it is good on its own terms in Confucian thought. I am convinced of this. However, the same thing may be good both intrinsically and instrumentally: political order can be good in itself and also good for making ethical development possible. Confucius said in the Analects that once the people are enriched, they still have to be taught (13.9). Both are duties of the government. I see no reason why it has to be one or the other. Loubna El Amine Department of Political Science, Northwestern University loubna.elamine@northwestern.edu In his review of my book, Classical Confucian Political Thought, David Elstein argues that my interpretation of Classical Confucian political thought draws too sharp a distinction between Confucians' ethical standards (virtue) and their political standards (order), thus veering perhaps a bit too far from the "conventional wisdom" that views Confucian politics as an extension of Confucian ethics. As I write http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Ethics and Politics in Classical Confucian Thought: A Response to David Elstein

Philosophy East and West, Volume 67 (3) – Jul 12, 2017

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
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1529-1898
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Abstract

individual matter as in liberalism. The government should provide instruction and encouragement of certain virtues, even with the understanding that most people will never become sages or junzi. In contrast to other scholars who argue that political order is instrumentally good for leading to ethical development, El Amine argues that it is good on its own terms in Confucian thought. I am convinced of this. However, the same thing may be good both intrinsically and instrumentally: political order can be good in itself and also good for making ethical development possible. Confucius said in the Analects that once the people are enriched, they still have to be taught (13.9). Both are duties of the government. I see no reason why it has to be one or the other. Loubna El Amine Department of Political Science, Northwestern University loubna.elamine@northwestern.edu In his review of my book, Classical Confucian Political Thought, David Elstein argues that my interpretation of Classical Confucian political thought draws too sharp a distinction between Confucians' ethical standards (virtue) and their political standards (order), thus veering perhaps a bit too far from the "conventional wisdom" that views Confucian politics as an extension of Confucian ethics. As I write

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 12, 2017

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