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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front. Philos. China    2020, Vol. 15 Issue (1) : 7-28     https://doi.org/10.3868/s030-009-020-0002-4
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Toward a Confucian Notion of Human Dignity
WANG Xiaowei()
School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China
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Abstract

This essay discusses the possibility of conceptualizing a Confucian notion of human dignity. Previous discussions on this topic have been either historical or reconstructive, the former discussing mainly how Confucianism considers dignity and the latter exploring the possibility of conceptualizing a Confucian human dignity as an alternative to Kant’s Menschenwürde. This essay focuses on mainly the latter effort. Specifically, I critically evaluate professor Ni Peimin’s celebrated attempt at reconstructing Confucian dignity in the context of Kant’s Menschenwürde, arguing that Ni’s work offers us novel and original insights on human dignity but fails to be coherent in several senses. On the other hand, Kant’s Menschenwürde may well lack motivation in particular circumstances, and gives no credit to moral efforts. Building upon this criticism, I further Ni’s discussion of the “four hearts” and propose a revised version of Confucian dignity.

Keywords human dignity      Confucianism      Menschenwürde      four hearts     
Issue Date: 31 March 2020
 Cite this article:   
WANG Xiaowei. Toward a Confucian Notion of Human Dignity[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2020, 15(1): 7-28.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/10.3868/s030-009-020-0002-4
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fpc/EN/Y2020/V15/I1/7
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