Confucius Filial Piety Essay
Therefore, there is a "basic asymmetry between parental and the filial obligations." I argue against the Daniels/English thesis by employing the traditional Confucian view of the nature of filial obligation.On the basis of a distinction between 'moral duty' and 'moral responsibility' and the Confucian concept of justice, I argue that the filial obligation of adult children to care respectfully for their aged parents is not necessarily self-imposed.To me, what makes Fred morally obligated in this case is the existential or factical "being" of Fred, Sheila, and John rather than Fred's intentional consent that is crucial in Fred's moral obligation to try to save Sheila.Similar examples in our contemporary social and moral life can also be found in the cases such as the moral obligation of the present generation of human beings to protect the ecological environment and to preserve some of the natural resources for future generations, a citizen's obligation to defend her home country, a patient's obligation not to have physical contact with healthy persons if she knows that she has an infectious disease, etc.Obviously, Fred neither made a promise nor gave consent to a request from Sheila's parents or Sheila herself to save Sheila when she is in danger.However, not giving consent does not sufficiently exempt Fred from his moral obligation to save Sheila in such a situation.
That is to say, it is not consensual, contractarian, and voluntarist but existential, communal, and historical. Consent and Moral Obligation We may find a basic thesis that underline the Daniels/English rejection of adult children's moral obligation of taking respectful care for their aged parents.
That is to ask, is there any limitation of that principle in our moral practice, especially when we consider filial morality in dealing with the relationship between adult children and their aged parents?
Let me try to answer the question by looking at the following example.
In her famous essay, "What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents," Jane English also claims that a favor done without it being requested or a voluntary sacrifice of one for another can only create "a friendly gesture" (Sommers & Sommers, 1993, pp. It incurs neither an "owing" nor a moral obligation to reciprocate.
Accordingly, "a filial obligation would only arise," says English, "from whatever love (s)he [the adult child] may still feel for them [her parents]." The moral obligation stops whenever the friendship relation ends.