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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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Dào as a Naturalistic Focus

Dào as a Naturalistic Focus

(p.267) 14 Dào as a Naturalistic Focus
Ethics in Early China

Chad Hansen

Hong Kong University Press

Modern ethical naturalism has the challenge of showing how normativity, broadly speaking, is a feature of the natural world—a description, roughly, acceptable in the language of modern natural science. The concept of dào can be used in expressing a positivist traditionalism, social or rational constructivism, or emotivism, among other positions, as well as naturalism. This chapter refines claims about the overall role and value of a concept in normative language that functions as dào does. It discusses Mackie's queerness objection to ethical naturalism and briefly illustrates how it envisions dào-like concepts dispelling it. The chapter also argues that normative claims explicated in natural dào terms would not seem as strange, particularly given other salient features of Chinese normative vocabulary. Furthermore, it briefly sketches a picture of the larger gradations in plausible naturalistic stories illustrating continuity in the emergence of normative from natural dàos.

Keywords:   modern ethical naturalism, normativity, dào, Mackie, Chinese normative vocabulary

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