What is the course about?
Confucian thought has had a major influence on Chinese philosophy. However, what it amounts to is often unclear. Is it merely an arbitrary ‘moral’ system full of pithy admonitions or does it harbour greater depths than might at first appear?
What will we cover?
• Confucius – key ideas: ‘benevolence’ (ren), ‘propriety/ritual’ (li) and the ‘cultivated person’ (junzi)
• ‘Warm-hearted’ confucianism: Mencius
• ‘Cold-hearted’ confucianism: Xunzi
• ‘Neo-confucianism’: Zhu Xi – ‘the investigation of things’ (gewu).
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Discuss, simply, the significance of ‘benevolence’ in the Confucian tradition.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course does not assume any prior knowledge, however some familiarity with or interest in East Asian culture/ideas would be beneficial.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will run in seminar format with short presentations including group discussion and Q&A. Slides and relevant links will be available online. No work outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Notemaking equipment of your own choice. Handouts of portions of relevant texts will be provided during the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in Daoism in a nutshell (HP118) starting on 10.2.20.