East Asian Morality Theory Analysis

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East Asian thinkers also realized that there were problems with morality. Professor Magagna breaks it down into a threefold problem: 1) The relationship between beliefs and behavior, 2) the cost of commitment, and 3) the relationship between the right and the good (2014). Primarily, the question arises if morality is a decision or the performance of duty. Since morality is, by definition, a decision, one would think that the East Asian morality theory would assert that morality was a decision. However, in East Asian society, nothing is greater than duty. Duty is the overarching umbrella under which all other categories and thoughts fall under. For example – the theory of self-cultivation is an example of duty towards oneself. Various other…show more content…
The second issue with morality is the cost of commitment. This was previously discussed above with the Mohists (utilitarian) and the Yangists (hedonists), however this cost of commitment is broken down into three types: 1) maximal cost-risk of hypocrisy, 2) minimal cost-risk of triviality, and 3) intermediate – the balance of costs and relevance (Magagna, 2014). The maximal cost-risk of hypocrisy means exactly as it is named. The risk of strong Confucian rituals can weaken the trust between people because it becomes unclear who is connected with morality. This becomes a hypocrisy because a person may be following something that they themselves do not partake in. This type of hypocrisy is all too prevalent in society. For example, if a thief pretends to be a sage so people give charity to him, the consequence of the people finding the truth out would affect all sages and not just this particular thief. We see this in politics too where we automatically blame the successor rather than the…show more content…
The final problem in morality is the relationship between right and good. According to East Asian philosophy, the right is seen as the realm of morality (what one ought to do, rituals, etc.) while the good is seen as (a good) life (Magagna, 2014). A good life is a philosophical terms for the life that one would like to live. This creates a problem in that morality impedes on the good because to be moral means to make appropriate sacrifices. What a person wants in life is not always going to be the best choice and thus a person has to give up certain things that he or she wanted for the ultimate good. Morality relies on the ability to make proper decisions, to distinguish between right and wrong, and to understand the subliminal consequences of one’s actions. In a piece known as “Spring and Autumn Annals” composed by Dong Zhongshu, it is mentioned how the term humaneness refers to ‘others,’ while the terms rightness refers to the ‘self’ (De Bary, 1999). As has been previously defined, rightness refers to a realm of morality and thus one can conclude that there is a certain amount of ‘self’ present in

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