Yi, (simplified Chinese: 义; traditional Chinese: 義; pinyin: yì), literally "justice, righteousness; meaning," is an important concept in Confucianism. It involves a moral disposition to do good, and also the intuition and sensibility to do so competently.
Yi resonates with Confucian philosophy's orientation towards the cultivation of benevolence (ren) and skillful practice (li).
Yi represents moral acumen which goes beyond simple rule following, and involves a balanced understanding of a situation, and the "creative insights" necessary to apply virtues "with no loss of sight of the total good. Yi represents this ideal of totality as well as a decision-generating ability to apply a virtue properly and appropriately in a situation."
In application, yi is a "complex principle" which includes:
- skill in crafting actions which have moral fitness according to a given concrete situation
- the wise recognition of such fitness
- the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from that recognition.
- Cheng, Chung-ying (July 1972), "On yi as a universal principle of specific application in Confucian morality", Philosophy East and West, 22 (3): 269–280, doi:10.2307/1397676, JSTOR 1397676
- "The Main Concepts of Confucianism". Philosophy.lander.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- (Cheng p. 271)