Abstract 摘要

In response to the challenges presented by ever-emerging moral issues in contemporary society, ethicists try to obtain input from different religious, philosophical and cultural traditions, and Confucianism is a popular choice. In following Confucian ethics, people grasp important Confucian concepts, quote important passages from the Classics and engage in exegesis to argue for the contemporary relevancy of Confucianism and Confucian ethics. However, because Confucianism is a living tradition that has guided Chinese life for years, other questions must be addressed when considering Confucian ethics. How have Confucian principles been applied historically to handle similar issues? Can these past applications serve as a source for addressing contemporary Confucian ethics? This paper considers how people adhere to Confucian ethics. The author determines how select Confucian family values have been applied in the past to help the Chinese to achieve major objectives related to marriage and family, and shows how they apply to the use of biotechnology in contemporary China. The paper contends that if Confucianism remains a living Chinese tradition, its past applications should give insights, however heuristic, into how people currently adhere to Confucian ethics.