Volume 7, 2018
Ethics and Interdependence
Manuel B. Dy, Jr.
An Ethics of Interdependence in the Doctrine of the Mean
This paper attempts to derive an ethics of interdependence in the Chung Yung, the Doctrine of the Mean. The Doctrine of the Mean, one of the Four Books of Confucianism often paired with the Great Learning, Ta Hsueh, is considered a patchwork of at least two separate writings. While the title indicates the topic to be the Doctrine of the Mean, analogous to the Aristotelian Mean, the latter half of the treatise discusses another topic, Cheng, translated often as sincerity, truth, or reality. On closer reading, however, and emphasizing the second character Yung, meaning “practice” or “common,” one can discover the ethical implications of the treatise. The first part presents the main ideas of the treatise, and the second shows the logical movement of these ideas to come up with an ethics of interdependence: interdependence of self and others, of self and things, and of self and Heaven and Earth.