When Western or English educated students reached a deeper level of understanding in ancient Chinese philosophy, they tend to think they know much about Chinese culture and their civilization. They may fail to take heed of what the great Carl Jung had indicated about the minor difference between Western and Eastern minds because of their respective upbringing.
Some of these students, possibly thinking it is fun or chic, tend to play around with terms long established by renowned translators like James Legge and Richard Wilhelm under the guidance of their Chinese mentors versed in ancient Chinese philosophy.
Of course, students can fool around with their Confucian studies, which student does not like to have fun? But can teachers join in the fun too? Probably Confucius and/or Mencius would have frowned upon that event happening? Since teachers have a duty or an obligation to teach the correct things to their students. And Confucians are known to be strict, if not stern.
There is currently an ongoing discussion between Western thinkers or teachers of ancient Chinese philosophy on the cardinal virtues. Some argue that Duty is internal, while some say otherwise. But what has the term, duty, to do with cardinal virtues? They imply that duty can take the place of the established term, justice or righteousness (yi).
Therefore let us look at what this student of ancient Chinese philosophy would say to remonstrate with an online friend.
Probably the best example to depict the respective terms of duty (qin wu / yi wu), loyalty (zhong xin), and justice (yi) would be that of a soldier. A ruler or a country employs and trains soldiers in case of a war, an emergency, or an external threat.
It is therefore the duty or obligation of a soldier to protect the ruler or the country in times of need. Now whether the soldier feels obligated to serve the ruler or nation dutifully is up to him or her. Therefore duty can be internal or not. (Think of soldiers going AWOL or dissent in times of war.)
Loyalty is considered internal because it is related to the heart/mind (xin). People expect their kin and/or friends to be loyal to them. So would expectations of rulers or nations of their soldiers. But then we know that loyalty can be bought, at a price. However, some cannot be bought over at any price.
According to the ancients, the cardinal virtue of justice or righteousness is internal and forms part of human nature. Since it is inborn, everyone possesses this virtue. Even under the threat or fear of death does not steer righteous or just persons from their rightful course of action. The Chinese can quote various stories on that. (Perhaps you realize the subtle differences in our upbringing?) Do we not agree that for justice, there is no fear or favor?
Therefore how the term duty (qin wu / yi wu) can ever take the established place of justice (yi) is beyond comprehension.
To be continued.