Filial Obligations: A Comparative Study
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- Wee, C. Dao (2014) 13: 83. doi:10.1007/s11712-013-9359-5
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The nature of the special obligation that a child has towards her parent(s) is widely discussed in Confucianism. It has also received considerable discussion by analytic commentators. This essay compares and contrasts the accounts of filial obligation found in the two philosophical traditions. The analytic writers mentioned above have explored filial obligations by relating them to other special obligations, such as obligations of debt, friendship, or gratitude. I examine these accounts and try to uncover the implicit assumptions therein about the scope and nature of such filial obligations. I then similarly examine Confucian filial obligations (CFOs) by relating them to these other special obligations of debt, gratitude, and so on. My findings are used to highlight crucial differences in the scope and conception of filial obligations in these two traditions.