Families of Virtue: Confucian and Western Views on Childhood Development

Professor Erin Cline's latest work, Families of Virtue: Confucian and Western Views on Childhood Development, is scheduled to be published by the Columbia University Press in May 2015. In this book, Dr. Cline examines the critical role of the parent-child relationship in the moral development of infants and children. Using scientific work on early childhood, she builds on early Confucian philosophers' view that the general ethical sensibilities people develop during infancy and early childhood form the basis for nearly every virtue, and that the parent-child relationship provides a crucial context for this growth to occur. Dr. Cline also shows how Western psychology can reinforce and renew the theoretical underpinnings of Confucian thought, and how Confucian philosophers can have positive social and political impact on today's world, especially in areas of paid parental leave, breastfeeding initiatives, marriage counseling, and family therapy. Dr. Cline is associate professor of comparative ethics at Georgetown University, where she teaches Chinese and comparative philosophy and religion. She is also the author of Confucius, Rawls, and the Sense of Justice (Fordham University Press, 2012).


"A remarkably comprehensive and powerful defense of a distinctive view about child welfare. No other work describes and engages Eastern and Western traditions and combines them with such an analysis of contemporary feminism and empirical social science."

Philip J. Ivanhoe, City University of Hong Kong

"An impressive example of a successful multidisciplinary work, in which Cline skillfully combines Chinese thought, the history of Western philosophy, empirical developmental psychology, and public policy proposals. This is clearly a work that will make a significant contribution to multiple fields."

Bryan Van Norden, Vassar College

"Outstanding--highly original, carefully argued, and clearly written."

Michael Puett, Harvard University