The contemporary challenge to traditional Confucian concept of interpersonal harmony : is staying single necessarily a bad thing?
Nur Syarafina Muhamad Ridha
Date of Issue2019-03-27
School of Humanities
Traditional Confucianism demands that marriage defined by a legal union of a man and a woman contributes to the success of a social organization. It requires that marriage is the only necessary means to achieve its traditional virtue of interpersonal harmony. However, as modern society progresses, traditional Confucianism is faced with the contemporary threat of declining marriage prevalence, increasing divorce rates and the growing trends of cohabitation. This paper aims to discuss the ethical significance of pursuing traditional marriage defined by the formalities of a traditional family as a necessary, while not sufficient, means in achieving the Confucian ideal virtue of interpersonal harmony. In this, I will argue that in order to achieve the traditional Confucian ideal of interpersonal harmony, the requirement of marriage cannot be the only necessary means but its benefits are fungible with other forms companionships in which singlehood can accommodate with. I will demonstrate how it is plausible for Confucians to allow the proposal of expanding the restricted scope of traditional companionship to grant alternative means from marriage including accommodating to the choice to stay single in order to achieve interpersonal harmony. I will conclude to assert that staying single is not necessarily a bad thing.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University