•  151
    Confucian Role Ethics: A Critical Survey
    Philosophy Compass 11 (5): 235-245. 2016.
    This article surveys recent scholarship on Confucian role ethics, examines some of its fundamental commitments, and suggests future directions for scholarship. Role ethics interprets early Confucianism as promoting a relational conception of persons and employs this conception to emphasize how a person's roles and relationships are the source of her ethical obligations and ethical growth. While there is much consensus among role ethic scholars, they disagree over the role of theory in further ex…Read more
  •  147
    Reviews Brian Bruya's edited collection The Philosophical Challenge from China
  •  85
    Mengzi’s Moral Psychology, Part 1: The Four Moral Sprouts
    1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. 2018.
    Mengzi (372–289 BCE), or Mencius, an early Confucian whose thinking is represented in the eponymous Mengzi, argues that human nature is good and that all human beings possess four senses—the feelings of compassion, shame, respect, and the ability to approve and disapprove—which he variously calls “hearts” or “sprouts.” Each sprout may be cultivated into its corresponding virtue of ren, li, yi, or zhi. Here we explore why Mengzi thinks we possess these four hearts and their relation to the cultiv…Read more
  •  75
    "What Is This Thing Called Philosophy of Language?," by Gary Kemp (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 37 (2): 280-284. 2014.
    Reviews Gary Kemp's "What Is This Thing Called Philosophy?
  •  71
    Confucian Role Ethics and Relational Autonomy in the Mengzi
    Philosophy East and West 66 (3): 903-922. 2016.
    This essay examines whether Confucian role ethics offers resources to identify and redress gender inequality and oppression. On its face, Confucian role ethics seems ill suited for this task for two reasons. First, a central tenet of role ethics is that a person is constituted by her roles. Because roles are constituted by norms that govern them, many social roles are, and have been, historically oppressive. Second, discussions of Confucian role ethics tend to avoid talk of autonomy, yet autonom…Read more
  •  57
    Mengzi’s Externalist Solution to the Role Dilemma
    Asian Philosophy 25 (2): 188-206. 2015.
    The role dilemma raises a problem for role ethic interpretations of Confucianism. The dilemma arises from the conflict between the demands and obligations of Humaneness and the demands and obligations of roles one occupies. Favoring the demands of Humaneness undermines a role ethic because roles and role-obligations no longer ground the ethic. However, favoring social role-obligations permits immoral and unjust role-obligations and allows for uncharitable readings of Confucianism.This paper exam…Read more
  •  38
    Al-Ghazālī's Dream Argument for Skepticism
    1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. 2020.
    Explore's al-Ghazāli's skeptical methodology in Deliverance from Error.
  •  35
    Wisdom, Agency, and the Role of Reasons in Mengzi
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 42 (3-4): 300-317. 2015.
    I examine the role moral reasons play in the Mengzi and their relationship to Mengzi's conception of wisdom. Some commentators have argued that agency in early Chinese thought is best characterized as performance based rather than deliberation based. I propose that Mengzi's conception of agency is both performative and deliberative because he understands wisdom as a sort of expert decision making. Consequently, Mengzi relies on moral reasons of two sorts. First, duan-reasons are reasons to act s…Read more
  •  33
    Mengzi’s Moral Psychology, Part 2: The Cultivation Analogy
    1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. 2018.
    We explore the central analogy behind Mengzi’s view of ethical cultivation. Philosophers sometimes ask what makes a person’s life worthwhile or what conditions make for a good life. Mengzi’s answer involves cultivating our innate moral senses into fully ripened virtues of ren (humaneness), yi (rightness), li (propriety), and zhi (wisdom). This cultivation neither is individualistic nor can it happen in isolation: it requires a lifetime of meaningful interactions with other people. In short, one’…Read more
  •  26
    The Role Dilemma in Early Confucianism
    Frontiers of Philosophy in China 8 (3): 376-387. 2013.
    Recently, Sean Cordell has raised a problem for Aristotelians who seriously consider social roles: When the demands of the role conflict with the demands of morality, which norms ought one follow? However, this problem, which I call the role dilemma, is not specific to Aristotelians. Classical Confucians face a similar problem. How do Confucians resolve conflicts between the demands of humaneness (ren 仁) and the demands of social roles and the social norms (li 礼) that govern these roles? Confuci…Read more
  • Review of Appreciating the Chinese Difference (review)
    China Review International 25 101-104. 2018.
    Reviews _Appreciating the Chinese Difference_ edited by Jim Behuniak