Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Confucius and Immanuel Kant: The Problem of Virtue and Morality

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Confucius and Immanuel Kant: The Problem of Virtue and Morality

Article excerpt


The article presents the results of a comparative analysis of the basic principles of Confucius and Immanuel Kant ethics, and made an attempt to make a reconstruction of the moral ideal in the context of comparative philosophy of the East - West. Particular attention was paid to the following objectives: - to perform a comparative analysis of the Confucius teachings and Kant's philosophy to recreate the spiritual significance of Confucian and Kantian philosophy in understanding the issues of virtue, moral and spiritual development of man - based on existing research in the field of comparative studies, Confucianism and Kantian ethics to analyze the ontological, anthropological, moral content of these teachings. To reveal the essence of humanistic social and ethical teachings of Confucius and the philosophy of Kant. The philosophical teaching of Confucius had a profound impact on the development of ethical thought in China. In Western philosophical space Immanuel Kant is a significant figure, and developed by him the doctrine of moral categorical imperative and an autonomous morality is the basis of almost all further attempts to build ethical models in the West.

Keywords: Confucius, I. Kant, ethics, virtue, comparative studies, Lun Yu, categorical imperative

1. Introduction

1.1 Introduction to the Problem

In recent years, the problem of finding the global values of Confucian tradition, as well as its interaction with the West-European philosophy has become the central issue of many philosophical studies. The representatives of the so-called "New Confucianism" who since the late 20s of the last century have been widely discussed issues of democracy, openness and cultural and religious tolerance, initiated this process.

1.2 Actuality of the Problem

The concept of "humanism", in other words "humanity", focuses on a man-individual, person, or group of people or family considers as a certain form of existence. From here originates the basic assertion of humanism, that man, or rather, man's life has some form of unconditional (congenital) human value. The concept of unconditional (congenital) human value, the moral principles and moral values are the basis of fundamental moral principles in many humanistic systems.

Two great thinkers in the history of philosophy - Kant and Confucius - shared commitment to morality, which they represented not only as a final duty of human existence, but also as the highest expression of humanity (humanity). Both thinkers have tried to guide humanity on the path of formation of moral principles and values. Morality is not always the result of civilization, as it was noted by Rousseau (Rousseau, 1998). Philosophers from almost every era lamented the deplorable situation of morality in their era and were convinced that they were witnesses to the moral decline as a result of many years of destruction and neglect of moral value system. Kant notes that (To a high degree, we are, through art and science, cultured. We are civilized - perhaps too much for you own good - in all sorts of social grace and decorum. But to consider ourselves as having reached morality - for that, much is lacking) (Kant, 1988). Confucius also noting the decline of moral standards of his era, recalled the old days, when the virtuous rulers, such as emperor of the Zhou Dynasty and mythical emperors Zfj and Shun were the moral inspiration for the people.

The teachings of Confucius largely determined the basic parameters for the development of Chinese philosophy. The philosophical teaching of Confucius had a most profound impact on the development of ethical thought in China. Confucian teachings originally evolved as an ethical and political doctrine, focused primarily on morality and ethics in politics and education, so that created a unique socio-cultural genotype underlying the reproduction and the functioning of the Chinese society. In Western philosophical thought on the other hand, Immanuel Kant's doctrine of morality, autonomy of the morality has become a kind of the basis of follow ethical philosophies of the West. …

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