The Need for More than Role Relations

Queer Lives, Social Group Identities, and Confucian Self-cultivation

Abstract

This article argues for the necessity of a social group ontology in Confucian ethics. The heart of Confucian ethics is self-cultivation begun in familial relations. Social group categories can disrupt family structures in ways that can only be ignored at a high cost to the well-being of biological family members who do not share the dominant group identities. To make this disruption clear, I will articulate the challenge queer lives pose for classical Confucian self-cultivation. This discussion will give rise to an account of queer chosen kin and its compatibility with the existing Confucian role-relational ontology. The incorporation of social group identities and an account of the sociopolitical constitution of persons is necessary not only for the development of Confucian social and political philosophy, but also for illustrating the significant ways in which Confucianism can shape cross-cultural discussions of ethical self-cultivation.

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Sullivan, I.M. The Need for More than Role Relations. Dao 20, 269–287 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-021-09776-x

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Keywords

  • Self-cultivation
  • Social groups
  • Queer identities
  • Confucianism
  • Social ontology