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Families of VirtueConfucian and Western Views on Childhood Development$
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Erin Cline

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171557

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171557.001.0001

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The Humanities at Work

The Humanities at Work

Confucian Resources for Social and Policy Change

(p.237) 6 The Humanities at Work
Families of Virtue

Erin M. Cline

Columbia University Press

This chapter argues how Confucianism's views on moral cultivation can not only help in the development of a child, but in society as well as they can lead to certain kinds of social and policy change. Although Confucian tradition heavily emphasizes the priority of familial relationships in moral development and human flourishing, Kongzi maintains there is a close relationship between the flourishing of individual families and the quality of the state. His Analects asserts that moral cultivation helps to explain how people come to have certain attitudes toward others, attitudes that emerge through the development of a set of virtues. These virtues are all ultimately rooted in the family, for the virtue most closely tied to healthy parent–child relationships in the Confucian view—filial piety—provides the foundation for Confucian moral cultivation. The chapter outlines a number of specific areas in which Confucian views can augment and support efforts to promote social change as well as policy reform.

Keywords:   Confucianism, moral cultivation, development, social change, policy change, familial relationships, Kongzi, Analects, filial piety, virtues

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