Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy

Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy
  • By Bryan Van Norden

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

    Online Publication Date:July 2009

    Online ISBN:9780511497995

    Hardback ISBN:9780521867351

    Paperback ISBN:9781107407329

  • Book DOI:

    Subjects: Ethics

In this book, Bryan W. Van Norden examines early Confucianism as a form of virtue ethics and Mohism, an anti-Confucian movement, as a version of consequentialism. The philosophical methodology is analytic, in that the emphasis is on clear exegesis of the texts and a critical examination of the philosophical arguments proposed by each side. Van Norden shows that Confucianism, while similar to Aristotelianism in being a form of virtue ethics, offers different conceptions of “the good life,” the virtues, human nature, and ethical cultivation.


"...Bryan Van Norden has made a remarkable and thought provoking contribution to a still ongoing dispute about the dao... strongly recommend the book to anyone with an interest in Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy."
--Loy Hui-Chieh, Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore, Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy

"Bryan Van Norden's Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy is a major contribution to the philosophical study of early Chinese thought.... It is a work of enormous scope that attempts to understand three key figures in the early Chinese philosophical tradition: Kongzi, Mozi, and Mengzi.... this book helps advance the debate on the questions of Ruism as a virtue ethics, the place of truth and argumentation in classical Chinese thought, and the relevance of Ruism to contemporary ethics. Van Norden's book is a highly important work, and one I suspect scholars in the field will be engaging with for years to come."
--Alexus McLeod, University of Dayton, Philosophy East & West