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Contribution to Book
Seeing Confucian ‘Active Moral Perception’ in Light of Contemporary Psychology
The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness (2014)
  • Stephen C. Angle, Wesleyan University
Abstract
A central goal of my 2009 book Sagehood was to demonstrate the value of putting Neo-Confucian thinkers like Zhu Xi (1130-1200) and Wang Yangming (1472-1529) into dialogue with contemporary Western philosophers. I argued there that on a range of topics—from the scope and motivation for ethics, to understanding and responding to moral conflicts, to moral perception, to ethical education—Western philosophers could learn from Zhu and Wang, and the contemporary heirs of the Neo-Confucians could learn from their Western counterparts. In Sagehood I also dipped into some recent psychological literature on the lives and psychology of moral exemplars, which I used to challenge and enrich my account of Neo-Confucian moral education. Given that Neo-Confucian are particularly concerned to understand what we now call “moral psychology,” I reasoned, it makes sense to see what comes from examining their accounts of development and functioning of the “heartmind (xin)” in light of empirical studies.The present paper has a similar motivation. As I have continued to read both psychological literature and the works of philosophers who are engaged with psychologists (including Nancy Snow’s important Virtue as Social Intelligence), it has struck me how much common ground there is between certain contemporary research programs and the feature of Neo-Confucian philosophizing that I call “active moral perception.”
Keywords
  • Active Moral Perception,
  • Moral Psychology,
  • Confucianism,
  • Neo Confucianism
Publication Date
2014
Editor
Nancy Snow and Franco Trivigno
Publisher
Routledge
Citation Information
Stephen C. Angle. "Seeing Confucian ‘Active Moral Perception’ in Light of Contemporary Psychology" The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen-c-angle/83/