Dao

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 211–220

Heaven as a Source for Ethical Warrant in Early Confucianism

Article
  • 280 Downloads

Abstract

Contrary to what several prominent scholars contend, a number of important early Confucians ground their ethical claims by appealing to the authority of tian, Heaven, insisting that Heaven endows human beings with a distinctive ethical nature and at times acts in the world. This essay describes the nature of such appeals in two early Confucian texts: the Lunyu (Analects) and Mengzi (Mencius). It locates this account within a larger narrative that begins with some of the earliest conceptions of a supreme deity in China. The essay concludes by noting some similarities and differences between these early Confucian accounts and more familiar views commonly shared by monotheists.

Keywords

Confucianism Kongzi Mengzi Heaven Morality 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Confucius. 2003. Confucius Analects. Trans. by Edward Slingerland. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Csikszentmihalyi, Mark. 2004. Material Virtue: Ethics and the Body in Early China. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Darwall, Stephen. 1999. “The Inventions of Autonomy: Review of The Invention of Autonomy.” European Journal of Philosophy 7.3: 339–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dennett, Daniel. 1978. Brainstorms. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Henry, Eric. 1987. “The Motif of Recognition in Early China.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 47.1: 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ivanhoe, Philip J. 1988. “A Question of Faith: A New Interpretation of Mencius 2B.13.” Early China 13: 153–165.Google Scholar
  7. _____. 1990. “Thinking and Learning in Early Confucianism.” The Journal of Chinese Philosophy 17.4: 473–493.Google Scholar
  8. _____. 2000. “Human Nature and Moral Understanding in the Xunzi.” In Virtue, Nature, and Moral Agency in the Xunzi. Ed. by T. C. Kline III and Philip J. Ivanhoe. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  9. _____. 2000a. Confucian Moral Self Cultivation. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  10. _____. 2003. “Death and Dying in the Analects.” In Confucian Spirituality: Volume One. Ed. by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Tu Weiming. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  11. Keightley, David N. 1998. “Shamanism, Death, and the Ancestors: Religious Mediation in Neolithic and Shang China (ca. 5000–1000 B.C.).” Asiatische Studien 52.3: 763–831.Google Scholar
  12. _____. 2000. “The Ancestral Landscape: Time, Space, and Community in Late Shang China (ca. 1200–1045 B.C.).” Berkeley, CA: Institute of East Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  13. Mengzi (Mencius). 1970. Trans. by D.C. Lau. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  14. Puett, Michael. 2002. To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice and Self-Divinization in Early China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2002.Google Scholar
  15. Royce, Josiah. 1908. The Philosophy of Loyalty. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar
  16. Schneewind, J. B. 1998. The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Taylor, Charles. 1994. “The Politics of Recognition.” In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Ed. by Amy Gutmann. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Van Norden, Bryan W. 2000. “Mengzi and Xunzi: Two Views of Human Agency.” In Virtue, Nature, and Moral Agency in the Xunzi. Ed. by T. C. Kline III and Philip J. Ivanhoe. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  19. Yearley, Lee H. 1975. “Towards a Typology of Religious Thought: A Chinese Example.” Journal of Religion 55.4: 426–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public and Social AdministrationCity University of Hong KongKowloon TongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations