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The Confucian Analects Human beings are fundamentally social and thus defined, in part, by the relationships into which a person is born, into which he/she grows, and within which he/she lives. The Five Confucian Cardinal Relationships There is a significant difference between being a good person and doing the right thing. A bad person, for example, might well do âthe right thing.â Confucian relationships are a matter of reciprocity or shu. The notion of Confucian friendship is a profitable comparison to the Aristotelian notion. Confucian Harmony Much as Aristotelian ethics is a matter of achieving a sort of balance within the soul, so one sees in Chinese thought an aim at a grand harmony, both individual and cosmic. Two virtues are particularly meaningful here â ren which is a matter of fellow-feeling or benevolence and li which is a matter of ritual propriety and appropriateness. Confucian Role Ethics Confucian role ethics has no Western equivalent. The Confucian does not consider abstract individuals but places the focus of attention on concrete persons in a matrix of role relationships with others. The ground of this ethic is âfamily reverenceâ or âfamily feelingâ (xiao). Contemporary versions of virtue ethics Alasdair Macintyre is the best-known proponent of contemporary virtue ethics. Human beings must know what they are doing when they judge and act virtuously, and they should do what is virtuous because it is so. Advantages 1. Attempts to create good human beings rather than good acts or rules 2. Virtue ethics unifies reason and emotion. Anc and Kant separate reason/emotion 3. Emphasizes moderation and situatedness rather than absolutes or grossly relativistic principles Disadvantages 1. Do humans have a telos, an end or purpose? 2. Are morals naturally implanted? 3. What is virtue and what constitutes the virtues? Who is the ideal virtuous person? We all have our favorite but there is no agreement of ideal traits. Virtue ethics seems to suggest that we merely educate the virtues creating virtuous people and moral problems are solved. KEY TERMS AND CONCEPTS 28 Copyright Â© 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.