•  3
    A Confucian Philosophical Agenda
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (5): 3-6. 2011.
  •  50
    Song-Ming Confucianism
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    An overview of Confucianism in the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, which many regard as second only to the classical period in philosophical importance and influence. This piece canvasses the major thinkers and schools, competing views on the metaphysics of li (pattern, principle) and qi (vital stuff), criticisms of Buddhism and Daoism, and debates about the heartmind, virtue, knowledge, and governance.
  •  27
    Zhu Xi on Self-Focused vs. Other-Focused Empathy
    In Kai-Chiu Ng & Yong Huang (eds.), Dao Companion to Zhu Xi's Philosophy, Springer. pp. 963-980. 2020.
    This chapter is about issues in ethics and moral psychology that have been little explored by contemporary philosophers, ones that concern the advantages and disadvantages of two different kinds of empathy. Roughly, first type is what is sometimes called “other-focused” empathy, in which one reconstructs the thoughts and feelings that someone else has or would have. The second type, “self-focused” empathy, is the sort of emotional attitude someone adopts when she imagines how she would think or …Read more
  •  15
    An overview of Zhu Xi's moral psychology, with a special focus on the metaphysical underpinnings and the relations between heartmind (xin), emotions (qing), and nature (xing). The authors explain how Zhu uses his account to balance the demand for independent standards of assessment with his commitment to ethical norms that virtuous agents can embrace wholeheartedly.
  •  188
    Shared Ends: Kant and Dai Zhen on the Ethical Value of Mutually Fulfilling Relationships
    Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture 33 105-137. 2020.
    This paper offers an account of an important type of human relationship: relationships based on shared ends. These are an indispensable part of most ethically worthy or valuable lives, and our successes or failures at participating in these relationships constitute a great number of our moral successes or failures overall. While many philosophers agree about their importance, few provide us with well-developed accounts of the nature and value of good shared-end relationships. This paper begins t…Read more
  •  309
    This paper explicates the influential Confucian view that “people” and not “institutional rules” are the proper sources of good governance and social order, as well as some notable Confucian objections to this position. It takes Xunzi 荀子, Hu Hong 胡宏, and Zhu Xi 朱熹 as the primary representatives of the “virtue-centered” position, which holds that people’s good character and not institutional rules bear primary credit for successful governance. And it takes Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 as a major advocate for…Read more
  • Oxford Handbook of Chinese Philosophy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  21
    Joy as a Moral Motive: A Response to Yong Huang's Why Be Moral?
    Philosophy East and West 69 (1): 280-287. 2019.
    This essay is a response to Yong Huang's Why Be Moral? I raise three concerns about Huang's answer to the very question "Why Be Moral?" which is the subject of the first chapter of the book. First, I suggest that the justificatory interpretation of the question is as important as the motivational one, in general and for the Cheng brothers, and that it shouldn't be dismissed as quickly as Huang dismisses it. Second, I argue that joy cannot be the direct motive for being moral, but propose that it…Read more
  •  66
    Two Notions of Empathy and Oneness
    In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self, Columbia University Press. pp. 371-387. 2018.
    This essay is about the relations between two different types of empathy and two different conceptions of oneness. Roughly, the first type of empathy is what is sometimes called “other-focused” or “imagine-other” empathy, in which one reconstructs the thoughts and feelings that someone else has or would have. The second type, “self- focused” or “imagine-self” empathy, is the sort of emotional attitude someone adopts when she imagines how she would think or feel were she in the other person’s pl…Read more
  •  74
    This article (1) offers a relatively comprehensive survey of criticisms of Buddhism made by the influential Chinese philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200) with translations of key passages, and (2) proposes that these criticisms are best understood as targeting the implicit presuppositions and practical implications of Buddhist teachings, not so much the explicit doctrines of the Buddhists. The article examines three sets of criticisms. The first has to do with Buddhist soteriology, the fundamental p…Read more
  •  59
    Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism
    In Nancy E. Snow (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue, Oxford University Press. pp. 171-89. 2018.
    In this chapter the author defends the view that the major variants of Confucian ethics qualify as virtue ethics in the respects that matter most, which concern the focus, investigative priority, and explanatory priority of virtue over right action. The chapter also provides short summaries of the central Confucian virtues and then explains how different Confucians have understood the relationship between these and what some regard as the chief or most comprehensive virtue, ren (humaneness or be…Read more
  •  44
    Punishment and Autonomous Shame in Confucian Thought
    Criminal Justice Ethics 36 (1): 45-60. 2017.
    As recorded in the Analects, Kongzi (Confucius) held that using punishment to influence ordinary citizens will do little to develop a sense of shame (chi 恥) in them. This term is usually taken to refer to a sense of shame described here as “ autonomous,” understood as a predisposition to feel ashamed when one does something wrong because it seems wrong to oneself, and not because others regard it as wrong or shameful. Historically, Confucian philosophers have thought a great deal about the habi…Read more
  •  187
    Neo-Confucianism is a philosophically sophisticated tradition weaving classical Confucianism together with themes from Buddhism and Daoism. It began in China around the eleventh century CE, played a leading role in East Asian cultures over the last millennium, and has had a profound influence on modern Chinese society. Based on the latest scholarship but presented in accessible language, Neo-Confucianism: A Philosophical Introduction is organized around themes that are central in Neo-Confucian p…Read more
  •  133
    Well-Being and Daoism
    In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being, Routledge. pp. 56-69. 2015.
    In this chapter, I explicate several general views and arguments that bear on the notion and contemporary theories of human welfare, as found in two foundational Daoist texts, the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi. Ideas drawn from the Daodejing include its objections to desire theories of human welfare and its distinction between natural and acquired desires. Insights drawn from the Zhuangzi include its arguments against the view that death is bad for the dead, its attempt to develop a workable theory…Read more
  •  73
    Sympathy and Perspective‐Taking in Confucian Ethics
    Philosophy Compass 6 (10): 663-674. 2011.
    This article spells out a forgotten debate in Confucian ethics that concerns the finer points of empathy, sympathy, and perspective-taking (sometimes called ‘role-taking’). The debate’s central question is whether sympathy is more virtuous when it is automatic and other-focused – that is, when we engage in perspective-taking without conscious effort and sympathize without significant reference to our selves or our own feelings.
  •  26
    Introduction: A confucian philosophical agenda
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (s1): 3-6. 2011.
    Introduction to Confucian Philosophy: Innovations and Transformations, a supplement to the Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
  •  110
    A Right of Rebellion in the Mengzi?
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (3): 269-282. 2008.
    Mengzi believed that tyrannical rulers can be justifiably deposed, and many contemporary scholars see this as evidence that that Mengzi endorsed a right of popular rebellion. I argue that the text of the Mengzi reveals a more mixed view, and does so in two respects. First, it suggests that the people are sometimes permitted to participate in a rebellion but not permitted to decide for themselves when rebellion is warranted. Second, it gives appropriate moral weight not to the people’s judgments …Read more
  •  64
    Dai Zhen's Defense of Self‐Interest
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38 (s1): 29-45. 2011.
    This paper is devoted to explicating Dai Zhen’s defense of self-interested desires, over and against a tradition that sets strict limits to their range and function in moral agency. I begin by setting the terms of the debate between Dai and his opponents, noting that the dispute turns largely on the moral status of directly self-interested desires, or desires for one’s own good as such. I then consider three of Dai’s arguments against views that miscategorize or undervalue directly self-interest…Read more
  •  44
    Xunzi Among the Chinese Neo-Confucians
    In Eric Hutton (ed.), Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Xunzi, Springer. pp. 435-473. 2016.
    This chapter explains how Xunzi's text and views helped shape the thought of the Neo-Confucian philosophers, noting and explicating some areas of influence long overlooked in modern scholarship. It begins with a general overview of Xunzi’s changing position in the tradition (“Xunzi’s Status in Neo-Confucian Thought”), in which I discuss Xunzi’s status in three general periods of Neo-Confucian era: the early period, in which Neo-Confucian views of Xunzi were varied and somewhat ambiguous, the “ma…Read more
  •  89
    Review of Stephen C. Angle's Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy
  •  161
    The past couple of decades have witnessed a remarkable burst of philosophical energy and talent devoted to virtue ethical approaches to Confucianism, including several books, articles, and even high-profile workshops and conferences that make connections between Confucianism and either virtue ethics as such or moral philosophers widely regarded as virtue ethicists. Those who do not work in the combination of Chinese philosophy and ethics may wonder what all of the fuss is about. Others may be mo…Read more
  •  107
    Confucianism and Human Rights
    In Thomas Cushman (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Human Rights, Routledge. pp. 244-254. 2011.
    One of the most high-profile debates in Chinese philosophy concerns the compatibility of human and individual rights with basic Confucian doctrines and practices. Defenders of the incompatibilist view argue that rights are inconsistent with Confucianism because rights are (necessarily) role-independent obligations and entitlements, whereas Confucians think that all obligations and entitlements are role-dependent. Two other arguments have to do with the practice of claiming one's own rights, hold…Read more
  •  76
    An overview of Dai's ethics, highlighting some overlooked or misunderstood theses on moral deliberation and motivation.
  •  40
    Confucian Philosophy: Innovations and Transformations (edited book)
    with Zhongying Cheng
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2011.
    New work on Confucian philosophy, published as a supplement to the Journal of Chinese Philosophy.
  •  117
    Xunzi on Moral Expertise
    Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (3): 275-293. 2012.
    This paper is about two proposals endorsed by Xunzi. The first is that there is such a thing as a moral expert, whose moral advice we should adopt even when we cannot appreciate for ourselves the considerations in favor of it. The second is that certain political authorities should be treated as moral experts. I identify three fundamental questions about moral expertise that contemporary philosophy has yet to address in depth, explicate Xunzi’s answers to them, and then give an account of politi…Read more