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Title: Mencius and Hutcheson on empathy-based benevolence
Authors: Chuang, Christina
Keywords: Humanities::Philosophy
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Chuang, C. (2022). Mencius and Hutcheson on empathy-based benevolence. Philosophy East and West, 72(1), 57-78.
Journal: Philosophy East and West 
Abstract: Mencius and Francis Hutcheson are often interpreted as “moral sentimentalists” since they argue that emotions and affections are the source of moral distinctions. In the standard interpretation of their texts, benevolence is the most fundamental moral virtue and benevolence is rooted in feelings rather than reason. Hutcheson’s philosophy constructs benevolence as the ultimate principle of morality; an action can be called morally good only if it was motivated by benevolence. In Mencius’ view, the heart-mind of the human being has four sprouts that, if properly cultivated, will grow into four virtues. The sentiment of compassion is the sprout that grows into benevolence. Both philosophers therefore share the idea that benevolence (as a virtue) comes from a natural sentiment in human beings, although this sentiment must be properly cultivated in order to grow into full-fledged benevolence.
ISSN: 0031-8221
DOI: 10.1353/pew.2022.0002
Schools: School of Humanities 
Rights: © 2022 University of Hawai‘i Press. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Philosophy East and West and is made available with permission of University of Hawai‘i Press.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Journal Articles

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