Virtue Ethics and Moral Responsibility: Confucian Conceptions of Moral Praise and Blame

Authors

  • Yong Huang

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    1. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China
    • YONG HUANG, Professor, Department of Philosophy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Specialties: ethics, Chinese philosophy, political philosophy. E-mail: yonghuang@cuhk.edu.hk

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Abstract

This essay discusses how Confucianism can deal with two related issues of virtue ethics and moral responsibility: praise and blame. We normally praise a person because the person has done something difficult, but a virtuous person does the virtuous things effortlessly, delightfully, and with great ease. Thus the question arises regarding whether such actions are indeed praiseworthy. We can blame a person for doing something wrong only if the person does it knowingly. However, according to virtue ethics, anyone who has genuine moral knowledge acts virtuously, and anyone who does not act virtuously, or acts viciously, only because the person does not have the genuine moral knowledge. Thus the question arises regarding whether such actions are blameworthy.

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