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Olberding, Amy, , . A Sensible Confucian Perspective on Abortion
2015, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 14 (2):235-253.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by:

Abstract: Confucian resources for moral discourse and public policy concerning abortion have potential to broaden the prevailing forms of debate in Western societies. However, what form a Confucian contribution might take is itself debatable. This essay provides a critique of Philip J. Ivanhoe’s recent proposal for a Confucian account of abortion. I contend that Ivanhoe’s approach is neither particularly Confucian, nor viable as effective and humane public policy. Affirmatively, I argue that a Confucian approach to abortion will assiduously root moral consideration and public policy in evidence-based strategies that recognize the complexity of the phenomena of unplanned pregnancy and abortion. What most distinguishes a Confucian approach, I argue, is a refusal to treat abortion as a moral dilemma that stands free of the myriad social conditions and societal inequities in which empirical evidence shows it situates.

Comment: This paper could be usefully coupled with the Ivanhoe paper it criticizes, but it does a good job of summarizing that view and so can also stand on its own. It’s an especially useful example of how to apply Confucian principles to a vexed contemporary moral issue. It also provides a good model of a Confucian-inspired philosopher criticizing another on grounds internal to that tradition, which can be used to dispel the thought that Confucian particularism leads to an “anything goes” approach to moral problems.

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Wee, Cecilia, , . Xin, Trust, and Confucius’ Ethics
2011, Philosophy East and West, 61 (3): 516-533.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Ian James Kidd

Abstract: Confucius frequently employs the term xin 信 in the Analects. The frequency of his usage suggests that xin has a significant place within his ethics. The main aim of this article is to offer an account of the roles played by xin within Confucius’ ethics. To have a clear understanding of these roles, however, one needs first to understand what Confucius encompasses within his notion of xin. The article begins by delineating the Confucian conception of xin, as presented in the Analects. The notion of xin is often taken to be isomorphic with the notion of trust. I argue that Confucius’ notion of xin does not quite map onto the notion of trust as usually understood in contemporary Western contexts. To understand better what Confucian xin amounts to, I compare and contrast the Confucian conception of xin with contemporary Western accounts of trust by Baier, McLeod, and Mullin. This comparison helps elucidate what xin is as well as how xin relates to morality. With this in hand, the roles that Confucius ascribes to xin in social and political contexts are then delineated.

Comment: Clear discussion of Confucian conceptions of trustworthiness and trust and their roles in the moral life. Useful for those who want to do comparative work with Chinese philosophy.

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