What is it about?

The article explores a theory of ethics developed from the concept of gongfu (aka. kung fu), understood broadly as an art of life. It is proposed as an alternative to the mainstream theories such as utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, virtue ethics, and ethical relativism, with the hope that it can synthesize their respective merits and avoid their limitations.

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Why is it important?

The gongfu perspective brings about a unique way of looking at ethics that enables us to examine ethics as part of the art of life. It frees us from the constraints of the existing frameworks and see ethics from a new light.


I have taught ethics course for many years. This article is a summary of my own critical and constructive reflections about the theories that are typically covered in the course. So this is like my answer to my students' question "So what do you think about these theories? Who is right, Mill, Kant, Aristotle, or whoever we have covered in the course? What do you recommend me to be my own approach to ethics?"

Peimin Ni
Grand Valley State University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Can Bad Guys Have Good Gongfu?—A Preliminary Exploration of Gongfu Ethics, Journal of Chinese Philosophy, March 2016, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15406253-0430102005.
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