Embodied Virtue, Self-Cultivation, and Ethics

Lisa Raphals

in Ethics in Early China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028931
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209800 | DOI:
Embodied Virtue, Self-Cultivation, and Ethics

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Virtue ethics, one of the three major contemporary approaches to normative ethics, places emphasis on virtue or moral character. Within the Greek context on which it draws, it is centrally concerned with the key concepts of virtue (aretê), practical wisdom (phronesis), and the “good life” (eudaimonia). This chapter offers a view of the first two, aretê and phronesis, which differs from the prevailing approaches of virtue ethics. It explores Chinese and Greek views of virtue and character derived from self-cultivation practices based on notions of ethics and virtue as specifically embodied, and of selves that are “cultivated” by physical practices with an explicitly physical dimension. The chapter discusses notions of embodied virtue and self-cultivation in three contexts: early Confucian texts, Daoist and technical works, and finally in a comparative perspective.

Keywords: normative ethics; aretê; phronesis; eudaimonia; virtue ethics

Chapter.  5983 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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