This article attempts to examine the moral epistemology of Dasan Jeong Yak-yong through analysis of his argument on goodness of human nature in his commentaries on Mengzi (Book of Mencius). Moral epistemology questions how our knowledge about morality is possible, and how we can justify moral beliefs. I attempt to describe Dasan along with some contemporary moral realists who accept our volitional activities such as desires and feelings to be reliable and justifiable bases of our moral knowledge. He connects the knowledge of goodness with the ability to have a feeling of pleasure upon seeing morally approvable situation. Dasan illustrates many concrete examples revealing apriority, objectivity, reliability, and the universality of moral emotions based on natural preference, which serves as a basis of moral judgment. Dasan’s examples, arguments, and proofs can be used as basic counterarguments against those who dismiss the role of emotions and reject the objectivity of moral knowledge, such as non-cognitivists and ethical skeptics.
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