This essay presents an interpretation of ren 仁 in the Analects that takes it to be a moral property primarily of communities, one that individuals can possess derivatively. Other interpretations of ren, li 禮, and moral agency in the Analects fail to account for the centrality of community in an adequate way, making it peripheral to the main theory, and thus struggling to make sense of the concentration on community in sections of the Analects such as book 4, and key passages such as Analects 4.1, 4.7, and 4.25, in which Confucius discusses the connection of ren to the particular community in which one lives, the groups one is a member of, and one's neighbors, respectively. First, a conception is outlined of shared communal disposition that helps us to understand ren in the Analects. Then, a textual argument centered in book 4 of the Analects is presented that ren is best understood as a communal property. Finally, an explanation is offered of communal disposition in general, and of how ren as a communal property is connected to the relevant communal dispositions.


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pp. 505-528
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