Aristotle’s best human life is attained through theoretical contemplation, and Confucius’ is attained through practical cultivation of the social self. However, I argue that in the best human life for both Confucius and Aristotle, a form of theoretical contemplation must occur and can only occur with an ethical commitment to community life. Confucius, like Aristotle, sees that the best contemplation comes after later-life, greater-learning and is central to ethical and community life. Aristotle, like Confucius, sees the best contemplation as presupposing full ethical commitment to community life. So, I argue for the theses that: (a) on Aristotle’s view, the best human contemplation requires one be fully morally good; (b) on Confucius’ view, to be fully morally good requires the best human contemplation; (c) being fully morally good for both requires commitment to the good of others and the community.
- Ming 命