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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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Embodied Virtue, Self-Cultivation, and Ethics

Embodied Virtue, Self-Cultivation, and Ethics

(p.143) 7 Embodied Virtue, Self-Cultivation, and Ethics
Ethics in Early China

Lisa Raphals

Hong Kong University Press

Virtue ethics, one of the three major contemporary approaches to normative ethics, places emphasis on virtue or moral character. Within the Greek context on which it draws, it is centrally concerned with the key concepts of virtue (aretê), practical wisdom (phronesis), and the “good life” (eudaimonia). This chapter offers a view of the first two, aretê and phronesis, which differs from the prevailing approaches of virtue ethics. It explores Chinese and Greek views of virtue and character derived from self-cultivation practices based on notions of ethics and virtue as specifically embodied, and of selves that are “cultivated” by physical practices with an explicitly physical dimension. The chapter discusses notions of embodied virtue and self-cultivation in three contexts: early Confucian texts, Daoist and technical works, and finally in a comparative perspective.

Keywords:   normative ethics, aretê, phronesis, eudaimonia, virtue ethics

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