In Defense of Hiya as a Filipino Virtue (English)

In: Asian Philosophy   ;  26 ,  1  ;  66-78  ;  2016

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The Filipino concept of hiya, often translated as ‘shame’ or ‘embarrassment’, has often received ambivalent or negative interpretations. In this article I make an important distinction between two kinds of hiya: (1) the hiya that is suffered as shame or embarrassment (a passion) and (2) the hiya that is an active and sacrificial self-control of one’s individual wants for the sake of other people (a virtue). I borrow and reappropriate this distinction from Aquinas’ virtue ethics. This distinction not only leads to a more positive appraisal of hiya, it also leads to a new understanding of associated concepts that are often confused with hiya such as amor propio, pakikisama and the infamous ‘crab mentality’. Defending hiya as a virtue is part of an even wider philosophical project, the move from ‘Filipino values’ to a ‘Filipino virtue ethics’, which I already introduced in a previous article in this journal.

Table of contents – Volume 26, Issue 1

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Common Narratives in Discourses on National Identity in Russia and Japan
Buntilov, Georgy | 2016
Justice as the Practice of Non-Coercive Action: A Study of John Dewey and Classical Daoism
Bender, Jacob | 2016
Zhuangzi’s idea of ‘spirit’: acting and ‘thinging things’ without self-assertion
Chiu, Wai Wai | 2016
Beyond sincerity and pretense: role-playing and unstructured self in the Zhuangzi
Machek, David | 2016
In Defense of Hiya as a Filipino Virtue
Lasquety-Reyes, Jeremiah | 2016
Chosŏn-Centrism and Japan-Centrism in the Eighteenth Century: Han Wŏn-chin vs. Motoori Norinaga
Park, Hong-Kyu / Hur, Nam-Lin | 2016