Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 9
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Provis, Chris 2010. Virtuous Decision Making for Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 91, Issue. S1, p. 3.

    Woods, Peter R. and Lamond, David A. 2011. What Would Confucius Do? – Confucian Ethics and Self-Regulation in Management. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 102, Issue. 4, p. 669.

    Wen, Haiming and Wang, Hang 2013. Confucian cultural psychology and its contextually creative intentionality. Culture & Psychology, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 184.

    Tan, Charlene 2013. For group, (f)or self: communitarianism, Confucianism and values education in Singapore. Curriculum Journal, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 478.

    Chen, Xunwu 2015. The Value of Authenticity: Another Dimension of Confucian Ethics. Asian Philosophy, Vol. 25, Issue. 2, p. 172.

    Chen, Xunwu 2016. The problem of mind in Confucianism. Asian Philosophy, Vol. 26, Issue. 2, p. 166.

    Provis, Chris 2017. Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. p. 425.

    Yang, Jie 2017. Virtuous power: Ethics, Confucianism, and Psychological self-help in China. Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 37, Issue. 2, p. 179.

    Provis, Chris 2018. Applied Ethics in the Fractured State. Vol. 20, Issue. , p. 13.

  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: December 2009

8 - Conception of the Person in Early Confucian Thought



In recent discussions of comparative ethics, various claims have been made about the inapplicability of certain Western notions to the Confucian conception of the person. For example, some have observed that Confucians do not have a notion of self and do not draw a distinction between mind and body. Others, while working with the notion of self, have argued that the Confucian conception of self is constituted primarily by the social roles one occupies and that the notions of autonomy and rights are inapplicable to Confucian thought. The inapplicability of these notions is seen as reflecting distinctive features of Confucian thought, features that have an important bearing on our understanding of the ethical values of Asian societies influenced by the Confucian tradition and the potential inapplicability of certain Western political ideas to such societies.

While these claims about the inapplicability of certain Western notions are suggestive, the exact content and significance of such claims remain to be explored. On the one hand, if we build substantive Western philosophical presuppositions into the notions under consideration, claims about their inapplicability become uncontroversial and of dubitable significance. For example, the claim that Confucian thinkers do not subscribe to a Cartesian distinction between mind and body or a Kantian notion of autonomy is not one that many would dispute. On the other hand, if we construe the notions under consideration in a very general manner, claims about their inapplicability appear clearly false.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Confucian Ethics
  • Online ISBN: 9780511606960
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *