Philosophy Colloquium
Xuan Wang
University of Maryland
Confucian Moral Ideal as Personal Ideal

Susan Wolf (1982) argues that a person who follows a moral theory perfectly (a “moral saint”) would necessarily be unattractive, dull, and fail to lead a life of value. Secondly, she argues that we should reconsider the status of moral reasons when act, since the unattractiveness of moral saints is rooted not in a particular moral theory, but in the nature of morality.

I argue that none of Wolf’s complaints about the Western conception of moral saints apply to the Confucian moral ideal, junzi (君子). I will show that following Confucian ethics perfectly (i.e. to become a junzi) is consistent with being attractive, interesting, and leading a life of value, and a society with everyone being a junzi is a society worth striving for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Taliaferro 1103