New Book: Ames, Human Becomings: Theorizing Persons for Confucian Role Ethics

Roger Ames’s new book, Human Becomings: Theorizing Persons for Confucian Role Ethics (SUNY, 2020) has been published. The editor’s summary:

In Human Becomings, Roger T. Ames argues that the appropriateness of categorizing Confucian ethics as role ethics turns largely on the conception of person that is presupposed within the interpretive context of classical Chinese philosophy. By beginning with first self-consciously and critically theorizing the Confucian conception of persons as the starting point of Confucian ethics, Ames posits that the ultimate goal will be to take the Confucian tradition on its own terms and to let it speak with its own voice without overwriting it with cultural importances not its own. He argues that perhaps the most important contribution Confucian philosophy can make to contemporary ethical, social, and political discourse is the conception of focus-field, relationally constituted persons as a robust alternative to the ideology of individualism with single actors playing to win.

The Table of Contents follows.

Table of Contents



1. The Question of Which Questions to Ask

2. How Do the Confucian Canons Say “Role Ethics”?

3. A Narrative Conception of Human Nature

4. Holography and the Focus-Field Conception of Persons

5. Relational Autonomy and Thick Choices

6. Holism, Democracy, and the Optimizing of the Human Experience

7. From Human “Becomings” to a Process Cosmology

Epilogue: Why Theorize Confucian Persons for a Changing World Cultural Order?



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