Kongzis Morality Mohists Morality On Practical Basis Philosophy

Essay add: 24-11-2017, 19:12   /   Views: 10

Confucianism, although not specifically mentioned, base it's morality on "differentiated love." Differentiated love is the doctrine that one has stronger moral obligations toward, and should have stronger emotional attachment, to those who are bound to oneself by ties such as community, friendship and especially kinship (Norden 2007). For example, in The Analects:

The Duke of She said to Kongzi, "Among my people there is one we call 'Upright Gong.' When his father stole a sheep, he reported him to the authorities."

Kongzi replied, "Among my people, those who we consider 'upright' are different from this: fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers. 'Uprightness' is to be found in this." (13.18)

According to Kongzi's "differentiated love," we have a moral obligation to "cover up" for our father, even if he committed an act that is impermissible.

Mohism, on the other hand, base it's morality on "impartial caring." Impartial caring is when a person should care equally for all other individuals, regardless of their actual relationship to him or her. This is different from Confucianism's "differentiated love," as it focuses more specifically on equality among all other individuals. The argument that Mohism brings is the Caretaker Argument [] . In this argument, the Mohist claim that impartial person would care equally to our relatives as their own, whereas a partial person would only be concerned with their own family.

In this paper, I will examine whether Mohism's "impartial care" demands too much from us, by give my own application and comparing both "differentiated love" and "impartial care."

Application Case

This is the application case that I will use, called the Vegetable Case:

Suppose that there is a group of farmers composed of you, your family, your friend, and your friend's family. Both you and your friend produce a certain amount of vegetable, you produce two vegetables and your friend produce three vegetables. Each production is sufficient to feed their own family, so your family only requires two vegetables and your friend's family only requires three vegetables to survive. However, one day, your friend decides to walk off from his farming duty and the total production is only two vegetables from your farming duty. You realize that it is not the sufficient amount that both families need in order to survive.

In this given case, what will be the better outcome for this situation? This paper is intended to examine both "differentiated love" and "impartial care" by applying them to the Vegetable Case.

Impartial Care applied to The Vegetable Case

The first question I want to address is, if a friend refuses to contribute his part of the share, does it mean that I'm not required to take the extra work? The answer is no, "impartial care" requires me to do the share of the new group formed. In the previous group, it was you and your friend, but now, the new group formed is composed only of you. Under the new group formed, you are now morally obligated to do your share of producing the vegetable along with your friend's share of producing the vegetable. Remember, you have to treat your family and your friend and your friend's family equally regardless of any actual relationship.

I find this view objectionable. The reason is from another case, which I will call Two Drowning Children: If one of the two of us refuses to help the two drowning children, does this mean that I'm not required to take the extra work? No, I am now collectively required to save the two drowning children. It does not seem plausible to say, "I have already saved one child from drowning, so now I have done my collective share." This moral intuition is reflective of "partial care," that the Mohist objects. If the Mohist claims that they have done their collective share and are not required to do more, they are only concerned for their own well-being, and not others.

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