Warp, Weft, and Way

Chinese and Comparative Philosophy 中國哲學與比較哲學

Olberding on the Confucian role for etiquette in resisting injustice

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Amy Olberding’s “The Moral Gravity of Mere Trifles” at LSE’s The Forum. She begins:

“Some of the most heated critiques of etiquette emphasize a tension between progressive political values and conformity to polite norms. Insistence on polite rules of interaction may, so the worry goes, stifle righteous dissent, suppress critique of the powerful, and mire us all in hidebound tradition. Better to forcefully call out injustice when we see it than abide by polite rules that sacrifice moral progress to surface social accord. In these critiques, etiquette can seem an enemy of salutary change and a barrier to justice. This reasoning, the early Confucians would argue, misses much about how etiquette works and what it contributes to moral life….”

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