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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2012, Vol. 7 Issue (1) : 20-54
research-article |
The Values of Confucian Benevolence and the Universality of the Confucian Way of Extending Love
GUO Qiyong1(), CUI Tao2
1. School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China; 2. School of Philosophy and Society, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 003006, China
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The spirit of Confucianism, which holds benevolence as its core value, has positive significance in the dialogue between civilizations and in the construction of global ethics. The values represented in Confucian benevolence are similar to the values in Christian Charity. Confucian values such as the doctrine of magnanimity, the idea of putting oneself in the place of another, and the Confucian way of extending love and favors, are crucial resources to hold in close connection with the relationship between human beings and nature, individuals and society, self and others, and one and oneself. The Confucian idea of “differentiated love” is a concrete and practical idea, which can be extended to be “universal love.” Furthermore, the Confucian way of extending love can also be interpreted as eco-ethical: On the one hand, Confucianism affirms the intrinsic value of the universe and calls for a universal moral concern for the ecological world; on the other hand, it recognizes a distinction between human beings and the nature, revealing an eco-ethical awareness of distinction and a consciousness of the differentiation between different ethical spheres. In extracting the instrumental value of ecological resources, Confucians never disregard the intrinsic value of animals and plants. Confucianism puts emphasis on subjectivity, especially the subjectivity of morality. Relationships between man and himself, between self and others, however, are inter-subjective. For Confucians, the universe exists and grows in the process of perfecting oneself, others, and the world. Such an understanding is of modern significance for the exchange and dialogue between civilizations, and the growth of personality and the mental regulation of gentleman today.

Keywords Confucianism      benevolence      extending love      love with distinctions      environmental ethics      communicative theory      rites     
Corresponding Authors: GUO Qiyong,   
Issue Date: 05 March 2012
 Cite this article:   
GUO Qiyong,CUI Tao. The Values of Confucian Benevolence and the Universality of the Confucian Way of Extending Love[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2012, 7(1): 20-54.
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