Spring 2011

Spring 2011 Essay Topic: Filial Piety and Confucianism in American Society

Essay may discuss, among other issues:

  • If or should filial piety and Confucianism have a role in American society?

  • Examples of its applications

  • How society might benefit from its principles?

The philosophy of Confucianism has had a deep impact on the Asian way of life from ancient times right up into our present age. The practice of filial piety within Confucianism still influences a vast amount of people today.

Filial piety (xiao shun) is the primary duty to one’s parents - a fundamental virtue for the Chinese way of life. Throughout the Analects, Confucius talks a great deal about the virtues for particular types of human relations, such as the virtue of filial piety (xiao) between parent and child. In classical Confucianism filial piety was commonly understood to consist of three key moral obligations; respect for one's parents, honoring (or not disgracing) them, and supporting them financially.

From the Confucian point of view, familial relations (parents and children, husband and wife, and elder and younger) are more important than the ruler-minister or friend-friend relation. The latter may end voluntarily, but familial relationships can never be deliberately forsaken. Kinship is consequently a crucial prerequisite in the Confucian notion. As Confucius claims, "filial piety and brotherly love are the roots of humanity” It is filial piety, above all other concerns, that inhabits the dominant place in Confucian belief. It could be safely claimed that filial piety is the essential force flowing through the entire structure of Confucianism. 

-- Excerpt from www.bukisa.com/people/Lysianassa



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CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Spring 2011

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Antony Wong


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