The Confucian Filial Duty to Care (xiao 孝) for Elderly Parents

T. Brian Mooney, John N. Williams

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Abstract

    Central to Confucianism is the doctrine that an adult child has the ‘duty’ to care for his elderly parents (xiao 孝). We give indications that this duty remains robust in Chinese communities and sketch its historical underpinnings. We then explore the conjecture that the origin of filial piety is the worship of ancestors as petitioners of Shangdi. Next we elucidate the Confucian ethical vision, according to which by being aware of the moral force of Tian (天), one must try to promote ren (仁) by means of li (礼) so as to exercise de (德), in a way appropriate to a junzi (君子). Then we examine how the filial duty of care is justified by this vision via the application of the Golden Rule. We anticipate objections to this justification and suggest replies available to a Confucian.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures
    EditorsJānis Tālivaldis Ozoliņš
    Place of PublicationSwitzerland
    PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
    Chapter8
    Pages111-127
    Number of pages17
    Edition1
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-25724-2
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-25722-8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Publication series

    NameSophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures
    Volume15
    ISSN (Print)2211-1107
    ISSN (Electronic)2211-1115

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