Essay for Unit #1 on Classical Chinese Thought
Due September 29
The purpose of this assignment is to get students to interact directly with the words and ideas of Confucius in a way that gives the reader a sense of what he was teaching and why. So, your charge is to write an essay that explicates his teachings as contained in The Analects--in an essay that is organized around 5-10 direct quotes from The Analects and perhaps supplemented by interpretations of his thought (such as Fingarette).
The key question that you might want to answer is: What are the core components of his teachings and how do they operate together as an integrated system?
Some other questions you might want to raise--but you are neither required to address them all nor limited to these ones specifically--have to do with the setting or context for the development of Confucius' ideas and they would include:
1. In Han times, when "Confucianism" became established as the official philosophy of the imperial regime, the first Qin ruler came to be seen as the perfect example of how NOT to rule or govern. Why was that?
2. How did Confucianism differ from Daoism? What was Daoism's primary vision?
3. How did Confucius' teaching differ from those of Mo-ism or Legalism? What did he offer that they did not?
Your essay should be 5-7 pages in length and have a solid Introduction, a strong Body and a Conclusion.