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Natural MoralitiesA Defense of Pluralistic Relativism$
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David B. Wong

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305395

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195305396.001.0001

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 Identity, Flourishing, and Relationship *

 Identity, Flourishing, and Relationship *

Chapter:
(p.115) 4 Identity, Flourishing, and Relationship*
Source:
Natural Moralities
Author(s):

David B. Wong (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195305396.003.0004

This chapter and the next two concern the ways that the functions of morality, human nature, and the particular circumstances of a group at a given time all work together to impose constraints of varying levels of generality on what constitutes an adequate morality for that group. Drawing from the Chinese Confucian and Western communitarian traditions and their conceptions of human nature as social, this chapter explains why personal values must be present in all adequate moralities. A conception of practical identities is presented, along with the necessary conditions for such identities to possess the properties of effective agency (constituted by abilities to formulate reasonably clear priorities among one’s moral ends, and to plan and perform actions that have a reasonable chance of realizing those ends, given all the conditions beyond one’s control). Drawing from an array of studies in psychology, this chapter argues that effective moral agency requires special relationships that are shaped and guided by special moral duties.

Keywords:   communitarian, Confucian, constraints, effective agency, practical identities, psychology, special duties, special relationships

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