Essay for Unit #1 on Classical Chinese Thought
Due September 27
The the thought of Confucius--and the other Chinese philosophical ideas that either preceded him or crystallized in response to his teachings--influenced millions of people for over two and a half millenia. True, something similar might be said about Plato or Socrates but while they left systematic treatises associated with their names, Confucius' teachings only come down to us in the form of The Analects recorded many decades--even centuries--after his death. Write an essay that explicates his teachings and their impact on Chinese and East Asian history by drawing on both primary materials--excerpts from The Analects--and interpretations of this thought (Mote, Fingarette, etc.). What are some of the core components of his teachings? How do they articulate with other streams of thought such as Daoism, Mo-ism and Legalism?
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? How did Confucianism come to offer an appealing alternative to the Qin emperror's approach? How did the Confucian philosophy become institutionalized and fully integrated into a bureaucratic state system?
Your essay should be 5-7 pages in length and have a solid Introduction, a strong Body and a Conclusion.