Persisting in the Good: Thomas Aquinas in Conversation With Early Chinese Ethics
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationYin, Peng. 2020. Persisting in the Good: Thomas Aquinas in Conversation With Early Chinese Ethics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe study addresses the question, How do we persist in the good when the world’s contingency, fortune, and evil are not hospitable to virtue? Drawing on the legacy of Matteo Ricci, I put Thomas Aquinas in dialogue with Mencius, Xunzi, and Laozi to address three related questions about how to create alternate forms of human subjectivity: (1) How does the claim about the existence of an innate moral capacity, conceived of as a divine endowment, serve as an antidote to counter the deleterious effects of evil on the moral life? (2) In cultivating virtue, what is the role of ritual, understood as a subjunctive space, to remedy the abject moral possibility outside it? and (3) How does one’s fundamental cosmological disposition to the world shape one’s attitude towards the good?
This study proposes a corrective to the recent revival of virtue ethics through these texts. By highlighting their Aristotelian features and discarding their theological and cosmological contexts, virtue ethics risks attenuating the potency of the texts’ full person-forming capacity. Thanks to their intense metaphysical speculation – often posited as an implicit frame beneath quite mundane-looking disputations, injunctions, aphorisms, anecdotes, verses, and ritual prescriptions – the texts as a whole, I submit, counsel a radical world transformation, as opposed to simply lifting up potentials latent within an already replete, coherent, and self-contained world. In the face of constitutional limits both in the self and the world, they appeal to a fuller, higher good to drastically reshape the patterns by which we pursue more quotidian goods.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365813
- FAS Theses and Dissertations