Advertisement

Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science

, Volume 2, Issue 1–2, pp 71–84 | Cite as

Immorality and bu daode, unculturedness and bu wenming

  • Vilius DranseikaEmail author
  • Renatas Berniūnas
  • Vytis Silius
Brief Research Paper

Abstract

In contemporary Western moral philosophy literature that discusses the Chinese ethical tradition, it is a commonplace practice to use the Chinese term daode 道德 as a technical translation of the English term moral. The present study provides some empirical evidence showing a discrepancy between the terms moral and daode. There is a much more pronounced difference between prototypically immoral and prototypically uncultured behaviors in English (USA) than between prototypically bu daode 不道德 and prototypically bu wenming 不文明 behaviors in Mandarin Chinese (Mainland China). If the Western concept of immorality is defined in contraposition to things that are matters of etiquette or conventional norms and thus tied to a more or less tangible moral/conventional distinction, then we are dealing with a different structure in Mandarin Chinese—the prototypically bu daode and bu wenming behaviors seem to largely overlap. We also discuss whether bu lunli 不倫理 and bu hefa 不合法 can be considered adequate candidates for translation of immorality and we answer in the negative.

Keywords

Normative domains Morality Daode Moral philosophy Moral psychology Cross-cultural studies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by a grant (no. MIP-15506) from the Research Council of Lithuania. An earlier version of this paper was presented at conferences at University of Vilnius, Tartu University, Kaunas University of Technology, and Osnabrück University, and a workshop at University of Iceland. We wish to thank the audiences at these events for suggestions on how to improve the paper. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for this journal for their valuable comments, Agnė Veisaitė for help with coding data, and Phyllis Zych-Budka and Vincent Giedraitis for language editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Ames, R. T. (2011). Confucian role ethics: A vocabulary. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ames, R. T., & Rosemont, H. (1998). The Analects of Confucius: A philosophical translation. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  3. Anscombe, G. E. M. (1958). Modern moral philosophy. Philosophy, 33(124), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berniūnas, R., & Dranseika, V. (2017). Thou shalt not kill, steal, and lie: A preliminary study on cognitively salient moral transgressions among Lithuanians. Žmogus ir žodis, 19(4), 94–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berniūnas, R., Dranseika, V., & Silius, V. (under review). Moralization East and West: Moralizing different transgressions among Chinese, Americans and Lithuanians.Google Scholar
  6. Berniūnas, R., Sousa, P., & Dranseika, V. (2016). Are there different moral domains: Evidence from Mongolia. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 19, 275–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borgatti, S. (1996). ANTHROPAC 4.0. Natick: Analytic Technologies.Google Scholar
  8. Buchtel, E. E., Guan, Y., Peng, Q., Su, Y., Sang, B., Chen, S. X., et al. (2015). Immorality East and West. Are immoral behaviors especially harmful, or especially uncivilized? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(10), 1382–1394.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. De Munck, V. C. (2009). Research design and methods for studying cultures. Walnut Creek: AltaMira.Google Scholar
  10. Gao G 高国希 (2005). Daode zhexue 道德哲学 [Moral philosophy], Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  11. Gassmann, R. H. (2011). Coming to terms with dé 德: The deconstruction of “virtue” and an exercise in scientific morality. In R. A. H. King & D. Schilling (Eds.), How should one live? Comparing ethics in Ancient China and Greco-Roman antiquity (pp. 92–125). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  12. Goldin, P. R. (2005). After Confucius: Studies in early Chinese philosophy. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joyce, R. (2006). The evolution of morality. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Rosemont, Jr., H., & Ames R.T. (2009) (tr.). The Chinese classic of family reverence: A philosophical translation of the Xiaojing, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kupperman, J. J. (2002). Naturalness revisited: Why Western philosophers should study Confucius. In Bryan W. Van Norden (Ed.), Confucius and the Analects: New essays (pp. 39–52). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Liji 禮記 [The Book of Rites], in Chinese Texts Project. http://ctext.org/liji/qu-li-i#n9485. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.
  17. Machery, E. (2012). Delineating the moral domain. Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication, 7(1), 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Machery, E. (2018). Morality: A historical invention. In K. Gray & J. Graham (Eds.), The atlas of moral psychology (pp. 259–265). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  19. Machery, E., & Mallon, R. (2010). Evolution of morality. In J. M. Doris (Ed.), The moral psychology handbook (pp. 3–46). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Neville, R. C. (2008). Ritual and deference: Extending Chinese philosophy in a comparative context. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  21. Nichols, S. (2004). Sentimental rules. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nivison, D. S. (1996). The ways of Confucianism: Investigations in Chinese philosophy. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  23. Nucci, L. P. (2001). Education in the moral domain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pennec, F., Wencelius, J., Garine, E., Raimond, C., & Bohbot, H. (2012). FLAME 1.1. Paris: CNRS.Google Scholar
  25. Pines, Y. (2002). Foundations of Confucian thought: Intellectual life in the Chunqiu period, 722–453 B.C.E. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.Google Scholar
  26. Rosch, E., & Mervis, C. B. (1975). Family resemblances: Studies in the internal structure of categories. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 573–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rosemont, H. (1976). Notes from a Confucian perspective: Which human acts are moral acts? International Philosophical Quarterly, 16(1), 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rosemont, H. (1988). Against relativism. In J. Larson & E. Deutsch (Eds.), Interpreting across boundaries: New essays in comparative philosophy (pp. 36–70). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Sachdeva, S., Singh, P., & Medin, D. (2011). Culture and the quest for universal principles in moral reasoning. International Journal of Psychology, 46(3), 161–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schein, C., & Gray, K. (2015). The unifying moral dyad: Liberals and conservatives share the same harm-based moral template. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(8), 1147–1163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Shun, K. (2009). Studying Confucian and comparative ethics: Methodological reflections. Journal of Chinese Philosophy, 36(3), 455–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smetana, J. (1993). Understanding of social rules. In M. Bennett (Ed.), The development of social cognition: The child as psychologist (pp. 111–141). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  33. Sripada, C., & Stich, S. (2006). A framework for the psychology of norms. In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, & S. Stich (Eds.), The innate mind, Volume 2: Culture and cognition (pp. 280–301). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Tisak, M. (1995). Domains of social reasoning and beyond. In R. Vasta (Ed.), Annals of child development (Vol. 11, pp. 95–130). London: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  35. Turiel, E. (1983). The development of social knowledge: Morality and convention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Weller, S. C., & Romney, A. K. (1988). Systematic data collection. Newbury Park: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wierzbicka, A. (2001). What did Jesus mean? Explaining the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables in simple and universal human concepts. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wierzbicka, A. (2007). Moral sense. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 1, 66–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Xunzi 荀子, in Chinese Texts Project. http://ctext.org/xunzi/quan-xue#n12253. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.
  40. Levine, S., Rottman, J., Davis, T., O’Neill, E., Stich, S., & Machery E. (unpublished manuscript). Religion’s impact on conceptions of the moral domain.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of PhilosophyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  2. 2.Institute of Asian and Transcultural StudiesVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  3. 3.Institute of PsychologyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

Personalised recommendations