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[Vol.33 (2020)] Ambivalence of Family and Disunity of Virtues in Mencius’ Political Philosophy
Author : Tao Jiang
Date : 20.02.28
Page : 69-104
Keyword : Mencius, family, two-sources, extensionist/sacrificialist, Shun
Abstract :


This essay argues that although family plays an important role in Mencius’
moral philosophy, its place in his political philosophy and the relationship
between the familial and the political are much more complicated
and
ambiguous than commonly assumed. We examine two related assumptions
about Mencius’ philosophy, one concerning the role of family and the
other the unity of virtues, by revisiting the “two-sources” (or “two-roots”)
problem identified by David Nivison, offering a different interpretation and
reaching a different conclusion. We argue that there are indeed two roots
in Mencius’ philosophy, the family root and the general sympathy root.
These two are sometimes in conflict within his framework, exposing a deep
tension therein. To make the case, we distinguish two distinct strands in
Mencius’ thought, the “extensionist,” which has been regarded as normative,
and the “sacrificialist,” which is more radical and less appreciated. While the
extensionist Mencius operates on the assumption of congruity between the
personal, the familial, and the political domains, the sacrificialist Mencius
recognizes the ultimate incommensurability between the familial and the
political and embraces the necessity for self-sacrifice in order to protect
the familial. The hero of the sacrificialist Mencius is none other than the
legendary sage-king, Shun 舜.


Attachments : 3(Tao)0605.pdf


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