ETHICS-1-Module-5-study-guide-Aug-2018 Asian Ethical Frameworks and Religious Conceptions.pdf

If yi is internal li is external ones moral character

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refers to the refined external expression of a morally cultivated individual. If Yi is internal, Li is external. One’s moral character is not only determined through the fulfillment of one’s duties or the benevolence of one’s heart towards others, but also through one’s behavior and comportment both in public and in private. The practice of Li is one of the signs of a moral gentleman. The following passage refers to the need for propriety in one’s action ( Li is translated here as ritual): “If you are respectful but lack ritual you will become exasperating; if you are careful but lack ritual you will become timid; if you are courageous but lack ritual you will become unruly; and if you are upright but lack ritual you will become inflexible.” (Kong Zi Bk. 8 Pt. 2). Li consists of the use of proper language, proper dressing, compliance to rules, observance of tradition, and the exercise of art. The moral gentleman does all these not in obedience to law ( Fa ) but rather as expressions of virtue. d. Zhi (Spoken wisdom) The moral virtue that results in knowing the right thing to do is Zhi. This generally refers to the “act of knowing”. But Zhi refers specifically to spoken wisdom or communicable wisdom or transmitted knowledge, rather than to just any kind of knowledge. Unlike the Greeks who have two terms for spoken wisdom, logos and sophia, Chinese thought has only one term for it which emphasizes the constitutive relation of thought and word. Wisdom must be transmittable, and it must be made communicable. Furthermore, Zhi is specifically identified with morality. It is knowledge of morals and it is the consciousness of the moral value of actions. Part of this wisdom is the ability to be circumspect about one’s situation, i.e. knowing when to speak. The passage from the Analects illustrates this: Page of 19 31
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ETHICS 1 - Ethics and Moral Reasoning in Everyday Life The Master said, “If someone is open to what you have to say, but you do not speak to them, this is letting the person go to waste; if, however, someone is not open to what you have to say, but you speak to them anyway, this is letting your words go to waste. The wise person does not let people go to waste, but he also does not waste his words.” (Kong Zi Bk. 15 Pt. 8) e. Xin (Faithfulness to one’s word) The virtuous person is not only conscious of his fellow human beings ( Ren ), nor is he simply carrying out his moral responsibilities ( Yi ) and acting well ( Li ) with full knowledge of what he must do ( Zhi ). The person of virtue must also strive to be someone respectable in words and deeds. The Confucian paragon of a virtuous person must be consistent in thought, word, and deed: as one thinks so should one speak; as one speaks, so should one act. Xin is the Confucian virtue that signifies this sense of moral consistency. It calls forth a commitment to one’s spoken word. It is akin to the Spanish phrase palabra de honor . The following passage reflects this: “People in ancient times were not eager to speak, because they would be ashamed if their actions did not measure up to their words.” (Kong Zi Bk. 4 Pt. 22) The Principle of Zhong and Shu
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  • Spring '10
  • Johnson
  • Buddhism, Chinese philosophy, Dao De Jing, Bhagavad Gita Ch

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