Moral Luck and Moral Responsibility: Wang Yangming on the Confucian Problem of Evil
Chapter in an edited book (author)

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AbstractLiangzhi (literally ‘good knowledge’), the neo-Confucian philosopher Wang Yangming’s trademark concept, is knowing-to, the moral knowledge that inclines one to act morally. As Wang claims that such knowledge is something that everyone is born with, a question arises: Why are there still people who do not do moral things and even do evil things? Against a common view that Wang fails to solve the neo-Confucian problem of evil, I shall argue that Wang provides a plausible and profound solution. People do evil things because their selfish desires becloud their liangzhi, and the selfish desires arise because of the unfavorable xi qi ??. Here, xi is the environment in which one was born and grew up, while qi is the physical/psychic stuff that one is born with. However, what kind of xi one is born to and what kind of qi one is born with are out of one’s control. It is moral luck, a concept made famous in a pair of papers by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel respectively. In this article, I shall challenge the dominant view of moral luck by appealing directly to Wang and provide a new understanding of liangzhi in terms of moral luck.
All Author(s) ListYong Huang
All Editor(s) ListMing-dong Gu
Edition1st Edition
Book titleWhy Traditional Chinese Philosophy Still Matters
Pages68 - 81
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2020-28-03 at 01:48