Confucius Filial Piety Essay

Confucius Filial Piety Essay-83
Most of us, I believe, would say "yes" according to our common moral sense.But what interests us in this example is not whether Fred ought to save Sheila but why Fred ought to try to save her.It claims that filial obligation, if it is to be a moral obligation, should be based on the voluntary consent of all moral agents involved.

Most of us, I believe, would say "yes" according to our common moral sense.But what interests us in this example is not whether Fred ought to save Sheila but why Fred ought to try to save her.

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This is so, they claim, because children do not ask to be brought into this world or to be adopted.

Thus, the traditional filial obligation of supporting and taking care of the aged is left as either the private responsibility of the elderly themselves or as a societal burden on the public.

I call it the "principle of intentional consent." "Consent" is required because a moral action ought to be approved of by all the persons involved in the action.

It is "intentional" because an agreement or an approval ought to be reached voluntarily and without any kind of outside coercion or deceit.

Living in modern society, it seems that few people can really deny the importance of the principle of intentional consent and that of the concept of autonomy in our consideration of the nature of morality.

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However, is it the absolute and exclusive grounding of morality?

Because we cannot always assume a friendship relation exists between a parent and his/her children, filial obligation is not a genuine moral obligation at all.

In what follows I shall argue against the Daniels/English thesis in light of the traditional Eastern Confucian view of the nature of filial obligation.

In her famous essay, "What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents," Jane English also claims that a favor done without it being requested or a voluntary sacrifice of one for another can only create "a friendly gesture" (Sommers & Sommers, 1993, pp. It incurs neither an "owing" nor a moral obligation to reciprocate.

Accordingly, "a filial obligation would only arise," says English, "from whatever love (s)he [the adult child] may still feel for them [her parents]." The moral obligation stops whenever the friendship relation ends.

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