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SagehoodThe Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy$
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Stephen C. Angle

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385144

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385144.001.0001

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Challenging Harmony: Consistency, Conflicts, and the Status Quo

Challenging Harmony: Consistency, Conflicts, and the Status Quo

Chapter:
(p.93) 6 Challenging Harmony: Consistency, Conflicts, and the Status Quo
Source:
Sagehood
Author(s):

Stephen C. Angle (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385144.003.0007

This chapter is organized around challenges from Martha Nussbaum, Karen Stohr, and Diana Myers. Does a commitment to harmony entail an unhealthy desire for consistency and unity in one's life and relationships? Along similar lines, can a commitment to harmony be squared with the existence of moral conflicts? Finally, does such a commitment push one toward a state of “emotional vanilla” in which one cannot mount dramatic challenges to the status quo? The chapter argues that a contemporary Neo-Confucian understanding of harmony has the resources to rebut all these concerns. In particular, the role of imagination in overcoming moral conflicts is stressed; this is illustrated through consideration of famous passages concerning potential conflicts from the Mencius. Particular attention is paid to the role of anger. The chapter argues, though, that both classical and Neo-Confucians too often leave grief out of account, even though it can fit well into their picture.

Keywords:   Martha Nussbaum, Karen Stohr, Diana Myers, unity, moral conflict, moral dilemma, imagination, Mencius, grief, anger

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