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Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy by Bryan Van Norden

Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy


Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy by Bryan Van Norden

In this book Bryan W. Van Norden examines early Confucianism as a form of virtue ethics and Mohism, an anti-Confucian movement, as a version of consequentialism. The philosophical methodology is analytic, in that the emphasis is on clear exegesis of the texts and a critical examination of the philosophical arguments proposed by each side. Van Norden shows that Confucianism, while similar to Aristotelianism in being a form of virtue ethics, offers different conceptions of 'the good life', the virtues, human nature, and ethical cultivation. Mohism is akin to Western utilitarianism in being a form of consequentialism, but distinctive in its conception of the relevant consequences and in its specific thought-experiments and state-of-nature arguments. Van Norden makes use of the best research on Chinese history, archaeology, and philology. His text is accessible to philosophers with no previous knowledge of Chinese culture and to Sinologists with no background in philosophy.


'Brian Van Norden has made a remarkable and thought provoking contribution ... I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy.'
Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

13th September 2012


Bryan Van Norden

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Cambridge University Press


430 pages


Oriental & Indian philosophy



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