Abstract

Focusing on the Analects and the Mencius, this article attempts to provide a Confucian answer to “why be moral?”—a question about the motivation to be moral that is neither tautological nor self-contradictory, as some philosophers claim. The Confucian answer to this question is that to be moral is joyful. While one may find joy in doing non-moral and even immoral things, one ought to seek joy in being moral or at least in being not immoral, as being moral is uniquely human. As the Confucian motivation for being moral is joy and therefore appears to be egoistic, Confucian joy lies in practicing the four cardinal virtues and so is altruistic.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1898
Print ISSN
0031-8221
Pages
pp. 65-87
Launched on MUSE
2010-01-24
Open Access
No
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