About 'De' (德), an Ancient Chinese Moral and Ethical Virtue

Ethics and Responsibility

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Chandler Caldwell
Journalist, United States

About 'De' (德), an Ancient Chinese Moral and Ethical Virtue

The Chinese term "De" from the Shang dynasty in the twelfth century was a personal power in an individual directed to another person.
According to Wikipedia, De (/de/; Chinese: 德), also written as Te, is a key concept in Chinese philosophy, usually translated "inherent character; inner power; integrity" in Taoism, "moral character; virtue; morality" in Confucianism and other contexts, and "quality; virtue" (guna) or "merit; virtuous deeds" (punya) in Chinese Buddhism.
In Western culture, de is translated as the virtue to positively affect others. The term carries self realization, for it benefits both parties.
Are people born virtuous or is it an acquired ethical taste? For instance, can you teach an unrepentant self-serving narcissistic individual virtues to help others?
What is your take on de, particularly in the workplace?

 

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Ethics and Responsibility



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