Through a detailed analysis of de德 as used in the Four Books (Sishu四書), this article is intended to examine the unity between two kinds of virtue manifested respectively through cultivating an admirable character in one’s self (moral agent) and enabling aretaic activities in the public sphere (political agent). By investigating how early Confucian masters integrate internal goodness and virtuous governance as the moral reasons for the common good and the flourishing of human community, we seek to reconstruct the ethics in the Four Books that is focused on de as the gravity center. This leads in turn to an account of a particular kind of “virtue ethics” or better, de ethics, which has underpinned all Confucian discourses on personal character and political practices.
This article is to argue that virtue is experienced and understood in Confucian ethics as power to act and as performance of a moral action, and that virtue (de德) as such has to be onto-cosmologically explicated, not just teleologically explained. In other words, it is intended to construct an integrative theory of virtues based on both dao (the Way道) and de. To do so, we will examine the two features of de, as the power that is derived from self-reflection and self-restraining, and as the motivated action for attaining its practical end in a community. Only by a self-integrated moral consciousness can one’s experience, action and ideal remain in consistency and coherence, which leads us to the Aristotelian notion of virtue as excellence (aretê) and enables us to see how virtue as aretê could be introduced as a second feature of de, namely as the power for effective action in the whole system of virtues, apart from the first feature of de as self-restraining power. We will conclude that reason and virtue are practically united and remain inseparable, and that taking into account the onto-cosmological foundation of virtues, reason and virtue are inevitably the moving and advancing forces for the formation and transformation of human morality just as they are motivating and prompting incentives for individual moral action.
The present paper gives a systematic account of the concept of virtue represented by de德 in the “Book of Changes.” It starts with a short summary of the impact of this concept on later Song dynasty philosophy. In this traditional view, “virtue” is considered to be a natural entity which contains intrinsic dynamics. This naturalistic view of morality is later contrasted with earlier notions of de or “virtue” in the canonized edition of the “Changes.” The paper first examines its meaning in the oracle sayings and then moves on to the “Traditions of the Changes,” Yizhuan易傳. Placed in its own historical context, the concept of “virtue” goes together with ideas of destiny, political authority and spirit-like efficacy.
Analyzing ancient cosmopolitanism we can identify the various groups of interests behind contemporary globalization models. There are three directions in contemporary cosmopolitanism: egalitarian, libertarian, and mondialistic. Each of them is associated with a certain ancient school – the Cynics, Cyrenaics, Stoics. Each of these three lines has a definite social basis both in Antiquity and in the Age of Globalization. Cosmopolitanism is considered as a universal in time and space philosophical doctrine and ideological principia. Looking at cosmopolitanism through global-historical perspective, we can see its unchanged, permanent essence, which does not depend on concrete conditions. This article looks at ancient cosmopolitanism as a folded (latent) programme of globalization. Using the global-historical approach and the method of historical analogues the author reveals social and philosophical roots of contemporary cosmopolitanism in Antiquity. Some parallels between Hellenistic ethics and Confucian cosmopolitanism are drawn. The directions of ancient cosmopolitanism are compared to those of present.
This paper investigates virtue cultivation in the Xunzi《荀子》, paying particular attention to the early formation period. I first give a brief survey of the usage of the character de德 in the Xunzi and the corresponding understanding of virtue cultivation. With the identification of some of the most controversial questions regarding Xunzi’s ethical thought, including how a person with a bad nature comes to be attracted to virtue, recognize the value of virtue cultivation, and embark on the path of virtue cultivation, I then review the efforts that have been made to address these questions and evaluate what challenges remain. I go on to argue that such challenges can be met and articulate how a petty man can be attracted to and also recognize true virtue. Finally, borrowing some resources from Aristotle’s idea of habituation of virtuous actions, I argue that it is possible for a person to embark on virtue cultivation, even though he is without prior moral dispositions and internal motivation for virtue.
Drawing on 1,965 cases of corruption by rural grassroots cadre from 1993 to 2017, this article examines the evolving patterns of and intrinsic reasons for corruption as well as its changing characteristics over time, by focusing on the following indicators: the number of newly increased corruption cases, the frequency of corruption activities, the average amount of cash value involved in the cases, the annual total cash value involved in the cases, and the sectors where corruption took place. This article ends with several recommendations on corruption prevention, including further measures on legislation, ideological education, supervising mechanisms, and investigation and punishment.
Litigation in rural China under the Qing involved “trivial matters” 细事 over marriage, land transactions, debt, theft, and so on. “Going to court” 打官司, as a regular means of resolving such disputes, functioned as a “safety valve” in maintaining social order, while the mishandling of civil disputes by local magistrates and prefects often had severe consequences. After 1860, Western missionaries became increasingly active in rural North China under the system of unequal treaties. Their arrogance and interference with lawsuits by providing local converts with judicial protection caused damage to the safety valve and disgruntlement among the victims of their abuses. It was the growing enmity toward the missionaries that led to rampant violence by the Boxers around 1900.
The Civil Code has not yet articulated fully what the “separation of the three property rights” with respect to residential plot rights should mean. This is due to the inadequate development of the theoretical basis of the reform of residential property rights in the Civil Code. Future stipulation on residential plot rights in the Civil Code should aim to define both the eligibility requirements and rights, and the use rights for residential plots. Both of those are derivative of collective ownership rights. For use rights, the new definitions should apply: use rights with respect to residential plots should become transferrable and complete. The new eligibility rights should be clarified as a membership right, a major component of the rights of being a member of the collective. It should include the right of usage and the right to benefits therefrom, while excluding the rights to request distribution of or transfer of the land.
China’s “new agriculture,” characterized by a “capital-labor dual intensifying” pattern of production, is an effective way of linking small peasants with modern agriculture. Based on a field survey of several neighboring villages in Nijingzhen, Hebei, this article describes and compares each village’s level of agricultural development, and how the new agriculture differs within them. The analysis reveals that both soil texture and land layout affect the ability of villages to adopt new agricultural technologies that characterize the new agriculture. The current land layout is determined by the land division rules that are collectively made by villagers under village self-governance and deeply influenced by the effectiveness of rural governance. “Capable rural people,” family surname and clan structures, and the structure of peasant households, in addition to the choice to remain in the villages, interact with each other and affect the effectiveness of village governing authorities. In turn, the development of the new agriculture impacts the inflow and outflow of the rural labor force, and whether villagers remain in the village, which in turn affects rural governance and social stratification.
While the deprivation of rights is among the roots of poverty, an analysis of issues pertaining to rights alone is insufficient for a proper understanding of and solution to the complex problem of poverty. Combatting poverty is essentially an issue of governance. China has made enormous advances in poverty alleviation in the past seven decades, thanks to the formation, perfection, and development of a unique model that allowed the state to identify the particularities of the problem of poverty during different periods and implement suitable measures accurately and efficiently. China’s success in combatting poverty has relied on the state’s strategic promotion, the CCP’s mobilization and organization, and the policies of prioritizing villagers’ interests and paying equal attention to both poverty alleviation and economic growth.