Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Jea Sophia Oh, PhD

Committee Member

Joshua Mason, PhD

Committee Member

Robert Main, PhD


In this study, I will elucidate the Confucian notion of 仁 ren (humaneness, benevolence) as a “through-line” that intersects aspects of Eastern and Western philosophical thought and I will extrapolate the foundational cornerstones of an ethical system I call “the balance ethic” from these intersections.

I will discuss what Charles Peirce's agape (evolutionary love at work throughout the cosmos) means in the larger philosophical context of the function of the world and how this relates to ren and balance. I move to G.W.F. Hegel's theories on what I call his "system of shape" as it relates to the potential ends toward which the means of resonant harmony through discord may point to. This sets up comparison of Hegelian and Peircean insights with Confucian and Neo Confucian Philosophy and further explains how agape, ren, qi (material force as interpreted by Zhang Zai), and determination are concepts that represent points (sometimes very close points) on an expansive “through line” between aspects of East/West thought...ultimately using this tie to examine how ren acts as the primary motor of ethical life.

I will conclude this study arguing humans’ moral responsibility to resonate toward balance extending from the self-knowledge one possesses to understanding of one's fellow humans, to one's place in society, and a responsibility to act according to the flow of universal physical law—a willing attempt to mirror the balance one finds all around one's self in nature and enact that balance in life (ren in the context of self-aware resonation).