Mencius and Aquinas
Theories of Virtue and Conceptions of Courage
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Lee H. Yearley is Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University.
"This is a path-breaking work, of the first importance for moral philosophy as well as for the comparative study of religion and morality. Detailed studies of particular conceptions of particular virtues are rare enough; but no one has hitherto contributed a comparative study of this kind. The detailed comparison of Mencius and Aquinas on courage throws new light on both authors and on the variety of dimensions involved in notions of courage. This choice of courage as the virtue to be compared turns out to have been unpredictably fruitful. Both Mencius and Aquinas are exhibited as at once analytical and creative in their treatments. Moreover the place of the treatment of courage within larger systematic frameworks and the importance of these frameworks is made clear. This is an indispensably useful book. " — Alasdair MacIntyre
"Yearley's book shows how the comparison of two great thinkers from different traditions and ages can both elucidate our understanding of each in a new way and also offer a critical perspective on the contribution to the contemporary dialogue. I also greatly appreciated the richness of his notes, which provide a virtual reader's guide to major scholarship on an array of issues. " — Michael C. Kalton
"The comparative study of religious ethics is much in need of the book Yearley has written, a work which investigates in depth two thinkers from different traditions. The focus on virtue is a welcome corrective to the emphasis on obligations and rules which has dominated previous investigations. The notion of virtue leads directly to a theory of the self which in my judgment is one of the key ways to get at the heart of systems of religious and moral belief. Yearley has also read deeply in contemporary philosophy so that he is able to bring contemporary sophistication to premodern thought. His book is a model of how to do comparative studies; he has the intelligence, the sensitivity, and the judgment to pull it off. I don't know of another book of this quality in comparative ethics. " — John P. Reeder, Jr.