Qing Ethics: An Alternative Perspective?

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Through a careful reading of the excavated early Chinese bamboo manuscript Xingzimingchu 性自命出 from the Guodian tombs, this paper proposes that the Confucian concepts xing 性 (natural tendencies) and qing 情 (natural feelings) are the fundamental sensibilities for Confucian moral, religious, social, and political constructions. This understanding further suggests the possibility of constructing a qing perspective in Confucian ethics. Confucian qing ethics supports an alternative reading of the five cardinal relationships in its historical context. Qing ethics also emphasizes the centrality of natural feelings as well as the natural tendencies in our family and human relationships. It is fundamental because it encompasses all of humanity’s concrete feelings as well as the profound emotional and spiritual experiences upon which the Confucian social and political system is built. Qing ethics can also help to articulate a new understanding and mutual construction between Confucianism as a philosophical system and women. A constructive interpretation of women and family experience may also assist in resolving certain problems that Confucian ren ethics faces, for example, the deep impact of the patriarchy and its unfavorable effects on women.





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International Communication of Chinese Culture