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Why Care? A Feminist Re-appropriation of Confucian Xiao

  • Li-Hsiang Lisa Rosenlee
Chapter
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter concerns the contemporary debate on the intersectionality of Confucianism with feminism in general and its compatibility with care ethics in particular. My intent here is to propose a hybrid feminist care ethics that is grounded in Confucianism by, on the one hand, integrating specifically the concepts of xiao 孝 and ren 仁 into existing care ethics so as to strengthen and broaden its theoretical horizon and, on the other, revising Confucian gender requirements in light of feminist demands for gender equity. It is my take that Confucian xiao 孝, as the root of ren 仁, is a moral vision that sees human inter-dependency as a strength in, and not a distraction from, human flourishing. In the same way, care ethics also starts with meeting the caring needs of one’s intimate loved ones, and caring relations in the personal realm for care ethicists have an ontological primacy. Morality for Confucius as well as for care ethicists, unlike the Kantian, liberal model that emphasizes detachment and personal autonomy, simply cannot bypass one’s affective ties in the familial realm. In the following, I will provide a hybrid account of care ethics and Confucianism – Confucian care – in which caring for the socially dependent and vulnerable starting with one’s loved ones is viewed as constitutive of the substance of one’s sense of the self; it forms part of one’s life’s journey to self-realization, not only in the realm of morality, but also in the realm of feminism as well.

Keywords

Filial Piety Personal Autonomy Care Ethic Confucian Ethic Moral Cultivation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Oahu Philosophy Humanities DivisionUniversity of HawaiiKapoleiUSA

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