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Ethics in Early ChinaAn Anthology$
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Chris Fraser, Dan Robins, and Timothy O'Leary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028931

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028931.001.0001

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Piecemeal Progress: Moral Traditions, Modern Confucianism, and Comparative Philosophy

Piecemeal Progress: Moral Traditions, Modern Confucianism, and Comparative Philosophy

Chapter:
(p.175) 9 Piecemeal Progress: Moral Traditions, Modern Confucianism, and Comparative Philosophy
Source:
Ethics in Early China
Author(s):

Stephen C. Angle

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888028931.003.0010

Chad Hansen, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Thomas Metzger all emphasize the importance of holistic units of analysis such as traditions and discourses. This chapter focuses on the positive things one learns from their holistic emphases. One lesson of this analysis is the importance of a critical spirit to the flourishing of a tradition. The chapter therefore addresses the long-standing idea that the expression of Confucian ethical truths is governed by a quasi-genealogical transmission, or dàotǒng, since the dàotǒng idea is often taken to fit poorly with genuine critical rationality. It argues to the contrary, showing that the function of dàotǒng in modern Confucianism does not undermine its status as a vital and developing tradition. Finally, the chapter shows that, despite the value of the holistic approaches canvassed, each risks significantly misconstruing the nature of cross-tradition philosophical learning.

Keywords:   holistic units, traditions, discourses, Confucian ethical truths, dàotǒng

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