Dao

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 407–425 | Cite as

What Cèyǐn zhī xīn (Compassion/Familial Affection) Really Is

Article

Abstract

This essay aims to delineate Mengzi’s view of emotion by analyzing his first ethical sprout, often referred to by the Chinese term cèyǐn zhī xīn 惻隱之心.Previous scholars usually translate this term as “compassion,” “sympathy,” or “commiseration,” in the sense of the painful feeling one feels at the misfortune of others. My goal in this article is to clarify the nature of this painful feeling, and specifically I argue that (1) cèyǐn zhī xīn is primarily construing another being’s misfortune with sympathetic concern, and that (2) the painfulness of cèyǐn zhī xīn comes from this concern-based construal of the object of one’s compassion. My interpretation of cèyǐn zhī xīn as a concern-based construal is an attempt to construct an important alternative to the inclinational view of Mengzian emotions, and it could be also considered as making a crucial step toward a new interpretation of the Mengzian theory of emotional cultivation.

Keywords

Mengzi Emotion Concern-based construal Sympathy Compassion 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Chan, Sin-yee. 1993. “An Ethic of Loving: Ethical Particularism and the Engaged Perspective in Confucian Role-Ethics.” Ph. D. Diss., University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  2. Chén, Qíyóu 陳奇猷. 1984. Annotations and Interpretations of Lǚ’s Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals 呂氏春秋校釋. Shànghǎi 上海: Xuélín Chūbǎnshè 學林出版社.Google Scholar
  3. Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. 2008. “Can a General Deontic Logic Capture the Facts of Human Moral Reasoning? How the Mind Interprets Social Exchange Rules and Detects Cheaters.” In Moral Psychology, Vol. 1: The Evolution of Morality: Adaptations and Innateness. Edited by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. D’Arms, Justin, and Daniel Jacobson. 2000. “Sentiment and Value.” Ethics 110.4: 722–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ———. 2003. “The Significance of Recalcitrant Emotion (or, Anti-quasijudgmentalism).” In Philosophy and the Emotions. Edited by Anthony Hatzimoysis. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 52. Cambridge: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  6. Darwall, Stephen L. 1998. “Empathy, Sympathy, Care.” Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition 89.2–3: 261–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gibbard, Allan. 1990. Wise Choices, Apt Feelings: A Theory of Normative Judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Graham, Angus C. 2002. “The Background of the Mencian [Mengzian] Theory of Human Nature.” In Essays on the Moral Philosophy of Mengzi. Edited by Liu Xiusheng and Philip J. Ivanhoe. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  9. Griffiths, Paul. 1997. What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Helm, Bennett. 2001. Emotional Reason. Cambridge: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jiāo, Xún 焦循. 1987. Corrected Meaning of the Mengzi 孟子正義. Běijīng 北京: Zhōnghuá Shūjú 中華書局.Google Scholar
  12. Kim, Myeong-seok. 2008. “An Inquiry into the Development of the Ethical Theory of Emotions in the Analects and the Mencius.” Ph. D. Diss., University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  13. Luo, Shirong. 2004. “Early Confucian Ethics and Moral Sentimentalism.” Ph. D. Diss., University of Miami.Google Scholar
  14. Lyons, William. 1980. Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Roberts, Robert. 1988. “What an Emotion Is: A Sketch.” The Philosophical Review 97. 2: 183–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ———. 2003. Emotions: An Essay in Aid of Moral Psychology. Cambridge: The Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Shun, Kwong-loi. 1997. Mencius and Early Chinese Thought. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Solomon, Robert. 1980. “Emotions and Choice.” In Explaining Emotions. Edited by Amélie Oksenberg Rorty. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Stocker, Michael. 1987. “Emotional Thoughts.” American Philosophical Quarterly 24.1: 59–69.Google Scholar
  20. Sūn, Shì 孫奭. 2000. Annotations of the Mengzi 孟子注疏. Edited by Mǎ Xīnmín 馬辛民. Běijīng 北京: Běijīng dàxué chūbǎnshè 北京大學出版社.Google Scholar
  21. Yáng, Bójùn 楊伯峻. 1960. Translation and Interpretation of the Mengzi 孟子譯注. Běijīng 北京: Zhōnghuá shūjú 中華書局.Google Scholar
  22. Yasui, Kō 安井衡. 1972. Orthodox Edition of the Mengzi 孟子定本. Tokyo 東京: Fuzanbō 富山房.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations