Confucius Filial Piety Essay

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.

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However, not giving consent does not sufficiently exempt Fred from his moral obligation to save Sheila in such a situation.I shall make a distinction between "moral duty" and "moral responsibility" and argue that adult children's filial obligation of taking care of and being respectful to their aged parents should not be understood as a moral responsibility but as a moral duty, which is, by its nature, not necessarily self-imposed.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.When Fred, a strong man and a good swimmer, went by a swimming pool on his way home, he found a three year old child Sheila was drowning in a swimming pool with another young child John crying nearby.Does Fred have any moral obligation to jump into the pool to save Sheila?This is so, they claim, because children do not ask to be brought into this world or to be adopted.Thus, the traditional filial obligation of supporting and taking care of the aged is left as either the private responsibility of the elderly themselves or as a societal burden on the public.Living in modern society, it seems that few people can really deny the importance of the principle of intentional consent and that of the concept of autonomy in our consideration of the nature of morality.However, is it the absolute and exclusive grounding of morality?All of these demonstrate that at least some of our commonly and ordinarily accepted and practiced moral obligations can be justified without being preconditioned by the mutual consent of the moral agents involved in the action.That is to say, they are, pace Daniels, "asymmetrical" rather than "symmetrical." In order to make the point clearer, I would like to call an attention to the nature of our understanding of "ought" or "moral obligation." When we say "A ought (not) to do X," or "A is obligated (not) to do X," it seems to me that we often have a confusion between two types of "ought/obligation." is another type of "ought/obligation." It does not necessarily depend on the competent moral agent's intentional consent.


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