Confucius wanted through his teachings for people to enter back into the era of the golden age which took place long ago under the original ideal mythical emperors (Corduan, 2012). We may speak of social outcasts in our society as comrades, and recognize members of “strange” cultures and unfriendly nations as “fellow children of God.” But we rarely place them on a par with those closer by or close to us, nor treat them especially well. For the general theory project, this one-sidedness is purposeful, a research tool for reductive explanation. But because of his radical ideas, he was never given the opportunity. Unlike Kant, J. S. Mill (1961) identified the golden rule as “the complete spirit of the ethics of utility” (p. 418). This emphasis eases the rule’s “burdens of obligation,” which are already more manageable than expected in the rule’s primary role, socializing children. None of these may auger a glad feeling, though one would hope they do, hoping also that one’s choices turn out well and that their consequences please us, which they often, sadly, do not. This trend dovetails nicely with the rule’s challenge to egocentrism at the personal level.  The rule’s strong and explicit egalitarianism has the same limited capture today as it did originally, confined to distinctly religious and closed communities of very limited scope. If a kind of imaginative role-playing is contemplated, one need only conjure up images of community elders frowning or fawning over a variety of choice options and everyday practices. Its corollary, the so-called “silver rule,” focuses on restraint and non-harm: “do nothing to others you would not have done to you.” There is a certain legalism in the way the “do not” corollary follows its proactive “do unto” partner, in both Western and Eastern scriptural traditions. Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2008. Confucius says… pt. Meditation. The golden rule is much-reputed for being the most culturally universal ethical tenet in human history. Even the lush empathy of Utilitarian intent, so key to who sacrifices or willingly serves, was eventually ejected from its general theory. It may detract from the good in fact. Often we fail to recognize that extreme reductionism is the centerpiece of the mainstream general theory project. These are four quite different options. Like any general principle, perhaps, the golden rule also seems incapable of distinguishing general relationships and responsibilities from special ones—responsibilities toward family members, communities of familiars and co-workers, not the wide world of strangers. The latter, a crucially different principle, is meant here differently than we now interpret it as well. But it remains this sort of special principle. To treatment from those known as most righteous in Jerusalem, for example, he responded, “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites are like whited sepulchers, all clean and fair without, and inside filled with dead man’s bones and all corruption…yours is a house of desolation, the home of the lizard and the spider…Serpents, brood of vipers, how can any of you escape damnation?” (Matthew 23:13-50 as insightfully condensed by Zefferelli.) Fyllis Hockman shares her trip to Confucius' hometown in China. The article notes the rule’s highly circumscribed social scope in the cultures of its origin and its role in framing psychological outlooks toward others, not directing behavior. (James may have confused the rule with sibling principles when making this blanket observation.). But clearly he meant one “man,” not person, and one “gentleman” of the highest class. It seems morally appropriate to sacrifice our own interests but not those of others even when they are willing. This is a strongly egalitarian message. Be the first to write a review. When morality sets the goal and means here, we term their culmination “moral exemplarism.”. We’re to be decent to all in some sense, but some we can humanely “order around,” set deadlines for, and some we can’t. And concern for others’ interests is key to establishing equality as the rule directs. This built newly generalized principles into the very structure of maximization (maximize the regard for rights as inherent and inviolable), turning the pre-existing utilitarian principle (regarding rights and all else as means to social good) into a super-principle, as some term it. Reviewed in the United States on August 22, 2014, Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2010. each individual's heart/mind. But in practice its greater role may be psychological, alerting us to everyday self-absorption, and the failure to consider our impacts on others. “Generalization in Ethics.”, Van Veen, V., Krug, M. K., Schooler, J. W., Carter, C. S. (2009). Wouldn’t we prefer mutual love to mere respect or toleration? These are serious problems for the golden rule. It suggests a general orientation toward others, an outlook for seeing our relations with them. Kohlberg, L. (1968).  Loving thy neighbor as oneself, or turning the other cheek, are distinct precepts—distinct from the golden rule and from each other. In the first, one experiences satori or enlightened awakening in a sudden flash. Our staking claim or aim toward the good as a personal goal is not involved. “Why her, not me? We now question, also, the much admired roles of empathy and role-taking in the golden rule, which can ease adherence to it, but are not necessary. One reason philosophers emphasize the juxtaposition of ethics and human nature stems from the moralistic, if not masochistic cast of ethical traditions. 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