55213144 MR 78 Final Study Guide
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Moral Reasoning 78
Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory
Final Study Guide Fall 2009
Alice Chung Francis Deng
Linda Ge Rick Goldstein
Tana Jambaldorj Tierney Morikawa
Charlene Neo Amy Vo
Shiyu Wei Joyce Yang Jeremy Ying Betty Zhang
Compiled by: Linda Ge
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CONFUCIUS Charlene Neo, Betty Zhang
Confucius Background (***Important, as Confucius is probably one of the most important philosophers. His arguments set the way for the later philosophers, introducing key ideas and concepts. Hence I elaborated quite a bit for the background). The Analects a record of the teachings of Kongzi (Confucius, 551-479 BCE) and his disciples.
Confucius believed that the Golden Age of humankind had been realized during the height of the Zhou dynasty, from c. 1045-771 BCE.
Personified by cultural heroes King Wen, his son King Wu, and the virtuous reagent Duke of Zhou, the early Zhou rulers established and maintained a special relationship with tian (heaven), by properly and sincerely observing a set of sacred practices collectively referred to as the li, rites or rituals
The scope of rituals was very vast, from grand state ceremonies to the proper way of sitting / treating others
The Zhou rulers were offered a Mandate of Heaven to rule China. By Kongzis age, the Zhou kings had been reduced to mere figureheads. Real political
power was in the hands of various local rulers. Kongzi was upsetthe scholars of the day were not virtuous, and were instead, often
interested in self-aggrandizement and sensuous pleasures, and the states were very unruly Hence could only be controlled by strict laws and harsh punishments.
Kongzi believed that there was still hope, and the Ru (Erudites) could serve as a blueprint to rebuild the Golden Age. Ru: a record of the traditional Zhou ritual forms and written classics, carefully preserved by a small group of cultural specialists
Goal: to return back to Golden Age, to lead this fallen world back to the dao (way) of heaven
Kongzis Way is to culminate eventually in a intuitive mastery of traditional cultural forms, one who possesses the strong mastery of those forms, the gentleman, is said to possess the supreme virtue of Goodness. Ren (goodness), refers to one who has so completely mastered the Way that it becomes second nature
This state of spiritual perfection can be referred to as Wu Wei (effortless action or non-action): a state of spontaneous harmony between individual inclinations and the sacred Way of Heaven.
Through the power of Virtue accruing to one so perfectly in harmony with Heaven, this state of individual perfection is to lead to the spontaneous and effortless ordering of the entire world. There will be no need for raising armies, instituting laws, or issuing governmental decrees, for the entire world will be as inexorably drawn to a ruler with the true Virtue as the heavenly bodies are bound to their proper circuits in the sky (analects, 2.1) Book One: Key Themes: Making of a gentleman
Learning: Very important virtue to have Deriving joy from the simplest things (having friends from afar) Patience, even when others do not understand.
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Filial and respectful of is elders someone who is like that rarely becomes the kind of person inclined to defy his superiors, and will not be disinclined to defy his superiors stirring up a rebellion (1.2, book one)
Once the roots are firmly established, the Way will grow Filial piety and respect for elders constitute the root of Goodness What is inside matters the most distinguish between genuine virtue from counterfeit
virtue, the outwardly appearance Should care for the masses, but feel a particular affection for those who are Good Kongzi does not actively pry or seek out information, but rather is so perfected in Virtue
that what he seeks comes to him unbidden (finds out about other government) Important to mourn for three years when someones parents pass on When performing rituals, it is important to have harmonious ease (thats what made the
Way of the kings so beautiful). If one merely sticks to the ritual in all matters, great and small, there will be things that you cant accomplish. Hence, you been harmonious ease and regulation of rites, to get matters accomplished
Being poor yet joyful, being rich yet loving ritual acceptable (1.15, book one) As if cut, as if polished; As if carved, as if ground. metaphorically,
that is speaking of a person who has been shaped and perfected by a long, arduous process of self-cultivation.
Importance of the past, history, from the sage kings, Kongzi: Informed as to what has gone before, you what is to come.
One who is committed to the Odes will not be led astray. (2.2) Punishments are bad, as people will become evasive and have no sense of shame. If you
guide them with virtue, and keep them in line by means of ritual, the people will have a sense of shame and will rectify themselves Sense of shame is important
Set your mind upon learning take place in society through mastery of the rites become free of doubts understand Heavens Mandate
Have to respect parents, not just by proving them with nourishment On teaching: (2.11) Both keeping past teachings alive and understanding the present,
someone able to do this is worthy of being a teacher Gentlemen cannot be vessels: cant just serve a particular function, not a narrow specialist (2.19) Duke Ai asked, What can I do to induce the common people to be obedient?,
Kongzi replied: Raise up the straight and apply them to the crooked, and the people will submit to you. If you raise up the crooked and apply it to the straight, the people will never submit
Being a filial son and a good brother, one is already taking part in government
Book three: Kongzi is against the Ji family having eight rows of dancers performing in their courtyard,
as this is going against whats right. In Kongzis time, this is a prerogative of the Zhou kings representing the ritual, moral and political improprieties of his age
(3.3) A man who is not Goodwhat has be to do with ritual? A man who is not good, what has he to do with music? only fit for morally upright people
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Rituals: better to be spare than extravagant, but for mourning, better to be excessively sorrowful than fastidious (3.4)
Analogy: The application of colors comes only after a suitably unadorned background is present Rites (application of colors) comes only after you are Good (unadorned background) (?) (3.8)
When you make a sacrifice, you need to be fully present (psychologically) The Zhou gazes down upon the two dynasties that preceded it. How brilliant in culture it
is! I follow the Zhou Again, emphasizing the importance of learning from history Ritual practices had so degenerated by Kongzis age that a proper ritual practitioner was
viewed with suspicion or disdain Lords should employ ministers with ritual, and ministers should serve their lord with
dutifulness Music (infer about self-cultivation) (3.23) The Master was discussing music with the
Grand Music Master of Lu. He said, What can be known about music is this: When it first begins, it resounds with a confusing variety of notes, but as if unfolds, these notes are reconciled by means of harmony, brought into tension by means of counterpoint, and finally woven together into a seamless whole. It is in this way that music reaches its perfection. As a metaphor for self-cultivation: starting in confusion, passing through many phases, and culminating in a state of perfection
Heaven might have deliberately caused Kongzi to lose his official position so that he might wander throughout the realm, spreading the teachings of the Way (3.24)
It is important to dwell among Good people If youre good, youll feel at home in Goodness, those who are wise will follow Goodness
because they can profit from it Merely set your heart sincerely upon Goodness and you will be free of bad intentions Wealth and eminence needs to be acquired in the proper way, poverty and disgrace should
be avoided in the proper way Life should be about learning and knowing the Way (and hence die without regret) (4.8) The gentleman will only seek to be on the side of those he considers to be right Cant abandon yourself to seek profit In government: through ritual propriety and deference otherwise, rites are useless (4.15) Zeng! All I teach can be strung together on a single thread. nothing more than
dutifulness (zhong) tempered by sympathetic understanding (shu) The gentleman understands rightness, whereas the petty person understands profit Always reflect Should never oppose your parents, follow their lead diligently without resentment; while
your parents are alive, should not travel far, and when you do travel, must keep to a fixed itinerary never be too far from parents, should take care of them
People in ancient times were not eager to speak, actions had to measure up to words Be slow to speak, quick to act (4.25) Virtue is never solitary; it always has neighbors.
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Importance of true morality from conventional social judgments: Kongzi marrying his daughter off to Gongye Chang, who was once imprisoned as a criminal
Importance of the native substance, that serves as the background upon which the color of the Confucian self-cultivation is to be applied Rotten wood cannot be carved, and a wall of dung cannot be plastered, hence no use in reprimanding Zai Wo. Important to listen to words and then closely observing their conduct as well in evaluating people, action > words (5.10)
Kongzi focuses his teachings upon the task at hand, rather than theoretical, esoteric subjects (different from other philosophers)
You can be pure, dutiful, but may not necessarily be Good Should be able to perceive ones own faults and take himself to task inwardly Love for learning is of utmost importance
The proper course of action cannot be determined by a simple formula but should rather be the result of careful reflection and consideration of the needs of others
Yan Hui as a worthy man: living in a narrow alley, subsisting upon a basket of grain and gourd full of waterother people could not have born such hardship, yet it never spoiled Huis Joy.
In seeking the Way, should never think that ones strength is insufficient, else it can be deemed as giving up or drawing the line
Only when culture and native substance are perfectly mixed do you get a gentleman Wisdom: Working to ensure social harmony among the common people, respecting the
ghosts and spirits while keeping them at a distance Goodness: One who is Good sees as his first priority the hard-ship of self-cultivation, and
only after thinks about results or rewards Kongzi had concerns about the proper use of names: A gu that is not a proper guis it
really a gu? Is it really a gu? can infer about what he thinks about officials holding positions and whether theyre true, good officials
One who is good helps others to take their stand; wanting to realize himself, he helps others to realize themselves
The importance of transmission rather than innovation. Kongzi was very much a firm believer of what the ancient sage-kings did, and hence trust in and love the ancient ways.
Ideally, ones immersion in the culture of the Zhou is to be so complete that it penetrates even ones dreams
Set your heart upon the Way, rely upon Virtue, lean upon Goodness, and explore widely in your cultivation of the arts (7.6)
(7.9) When the master dined in the company of one who was in mourning, he never ate his fill he was always empathetic
Looks into antiquity for knowledge Learn from people who are good, to emulate them. Learn from people who are worse, to
remind oneself about whats bad If one simply desires goodness, one will find that it is already here
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A balance: being affable yet firm, awe-inspiring without being severe, simultaneously respectful and relaxed (7.38)
The gentlemen should always lead by example, so that one can inspire others towards goodness
Rituals are very important Be sincerely trustworthy and love learning, hold fast to the good Way until death
Confuciuss contempt for merely technical skills man should not be a vessel Whenever the master saw someone wearing mourning clothes, or was blind, or garbed in
full official dress (in times of distress, when he meets someone of high authority etc)--. He always rise to his feet, even if the person was his junior respect for others
The gentleman should share his virtue with the world by taking public office; but Kongzi waits for the right ruler to recognize him rather than to actively peddle his wares on the market
Important to change oneself after being rebuked with exemplary words, to accord with them. It is even more important to live up to them
The wise are not confused,, the Good do not worry, the courageous do not fear (9.29) Book Ten
One should adopt different behaviors / responses appropriate for the given situation o At court, when speaking with officers of lower rank, he [Kongzi] was pleasant
and affable; when speaking with officers of upper rank he was formal and proper. When his ruler was present he combined an attitude of reverential respect with graceful ease.
Book Eleven We do not and cannot grasp Heaven, death, etcthus we can only focus on our present
life and try our best to achieve benevolence o Zilu asked about serving the ghost and spirits. The Master said You are not yet
able to serve peoplehow could you be able to serve the ghosts and spirits? May I inquire about death? You do not yet understand lifehow could you possibly understand death?
Book Twelve governance: The importance of fulfilling ones roles in government, society, and family
o Duke Jing of Qi asked Kongzi about governing. Kongzi responded Let the ruler be a true ruler the ministers true ministers the father true fathers, and the sons true sons. The Duke replied, Well put! Certainly if the ruler is not a true ruler, the fathers not true fathers, and the sons not true sons, even if there is sufficient grain, will I ever get to eat it?
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A ruler should lead by example and practice benevolence, so that others may follow (similar to Mencius argument, in particular his water analogy)
o Jikangzi, questioning Kongzi about governing, asked, If I were to execute those who lacked the Way in order to advance those who possessed the Way, what would you think of that? Kongzi responded, In your governing what need is there for executions? If you desire good, then the people will also desire good. The Virtue of the gentleman is like the wind, and the Virtue of the petty person is like the grasswhen the wind blows over the grass, the grass must bend.
Book Thirteen Being good means that one should love and protect the people who are closest to us our
family. This exhibits an argument for partiality that is opposed by later philosophers o The Lord of She said to Kongzi, Among my people there is one we call Upright
Gong. When his father stole a sheep, he reported him to the authorities. Kongzi replied, Among my people, those we consider upright are different from this: fathers cover up for their sons, and sons cover up for their fathers. This is what it means to be upright.
Book Fourteen Again, we as humans cannot know about fate, and occurrences in life may not make
sense, or seem fair, to us o Nangong Kuo said to Kongzi, Yi was a skillful archer, and Ao was strong enough
to push a boat over dry land, and yet neither of them met a natural death. Yu and Hou Ji, on the other hand, did nothing but personally tend to the land, ad yet they both ended up with possession of the world. The Master did not answer. After Nangong Kuo left, the Master sighed, What a gentlemanly person he is! How he reveres Virtue!
True cultivation is done for the sake of self-improvement, not for the favor of other people
o The master said, In ancient times scholars worked for their own improvement; nowadays they seek only to win the approval of others.
The gentleman, who is perfect and complete, cultivates himself to help those around him o Zilu asked about the gentleman. The Master said, He cultivates himself in order
to achieve reverence. Is that all? He cultivates himself in order to bring peace to the people. Cultivating oneself and thereby bringing peace to the people is an accomplishment that even a Yao or a Shun would not disdain.
Book Sixteen People are born with different dispositions for learning; some will find it easier to
become learned and practice rituals. Regardless, however, people should have the intentions to learn and to improve.
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o Kongzi said, Those who are born understanding it are the best; those who understand it through learning are second. Those who find it difficult and yet persist in their studies are still lower. The worst are the people who find it difficult but do not even try to learn.
Book Seventeen It is not clear on Kongzis view of human nature, whether its good or bad. However,
he does state that people are born with similar natures and that it is through practice that we differ from one another in our goodness, uprightnessetc.
o The Master said, By xing, nature, people are similar ; they diverge as the result of xi, practice.
Book Twenty Here Kongzi seems to associate practicing rituals and becoming good with the Mandate
of Heaven, suggesting that it is the order of the world and the will of Heaven that people strive to cultivate themselves, understand one another and affect others for the better
o Kongzi said, One who does not understand the Heavenly Mandate lacks the means to become a gentleman. One who does not understand the rites lacks the means to take his stand. One who does not understand how to evaluate the words of others lacks the means to understand people.
Note: Many of the important concepts have been highlight in the above summaries. The potential IDs are underlined. Confucius is important as he started Confucianism. His teachings revolved around learning from history, from the Golden age, in order to achieve the prosperity and order that he believed persisted during the Golden age. He seeks knowledge from antiquity, looks to the past to find answers for the future, but yet insists on not blindly following the past, but also to be able to spontaneously harmonize with the knowledge; applying that to current context. Confucius believed that the time he lived in was a period of chaos, and that the state of the nation was dismally crooked. The route to recovery is to spread the teachings of the ancients, and to be able to self-cultivate on an individual level, to eventually have a nation that is filled with learned, well-cultivated people, filled with virtue, goodness, proprietary and deference. This self-cultivation and goodness are strongly related to ones insight into appropriate behaviors and responses in different situations. Not only should people seek to improve their inner minds, but also seek to better the lives of the people around them. Rites and rituals are important to foster and mold this sense of goodness.
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Mozi Alice Chung
Source of human suffering: ideological differences, factionalism. The ethical problem of the day of was excessive partiality and not a lack of compassion. Ideal State: highly centralized, orderly, ideologically unified
Key Quotations: o Why cant rulers always get power?: That is because the kings, dukes, and great
officials who rule the various states are not able to honor the worthy and employ the capable in carrying out their rule it is the proper work of kings, dukes, and great officials to increase the number of worthy men in their states (62).
o First paragraph of page 62: how to force each citizen to be righteous o Unify standards of righteousness to bring order to chaos (65). If we look into
how good order was maintained in the state, what do we find? Was it not simply because the ruler of the state was able to unify the norms followed within the state that he was able to maintain good order into it? (67)
o On moderation in expenditures: When sage-kings rule, whenever they issue orders, undertake an enterprise, employ the people or expend their resources, they never do anything that is not useful. And so they never waste their resources or overburden their people yet are able to generate great benefits (78).
o Supports four goals for society: enriching the poor, increasing the population, bringing stability to precarious situations and order to chaos (81).
View of Kongzi: criticized his system for being family based and for being an ethical and political system for partiality. Also thought Kongzi was incredibly vague. Said even if youre good in Confucian terms, youre inherently bias by dealing with only those who are around you. The hope would be that you would extend this goodness to strangers too and not be bias toward your family. Also Kongzi was not thinking in terms of radical institutional changehis system would be a slow process. Mozi wanted change as soon as possible and didnt want to wait for people to change. (Confucians on the other hand would say the Mohist system would lead to selfishness and people would still need to make judgment calls) Main principle: if it benefits people it is good, if it doesnt its bad. So he wanted a world where everyone would know what to do. This is to be done through punishments/rewards, clear rules of conduct, world of hierarchy/social mobility, and by looking at external behavior. The Way:
favored a strict chain of command. Crucial to follow superiors. If the superior didnt do a good job, heaven would replace them.
In place of Confucian ren, sought to maximize wealth, order, and the population of the state.
Argued for universal love/impartial care. His primary goal was the change and shape behavior, not to cultivation emotions or virtues.
o And so it is those who are partial in their dealings with others who are the real cause of all the great harms in the world (68).
o P68 contains several key quotations o Story of two rulers on page 71: impartial ruler is able to win his citizens
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System of strict rewards and punishments enforced by the state and guaranteed by the support of heaven, ghosts, and spirits. It doesnt matter if they are good human beings, just judge people based on external behavior.
o For Heaven will clearly see you even if you run to the forests, valleys, or hidden places where none lives. But for some reason the gentlemen of the world dont know enough to warn each other about offending Heaven (90)
o Heaven punished the vicious kings with short life and a weak line (92). Even the kings kin must be righteous Sought to promote public righteousness and prevent private resentment Pushed for moderation in expenditures, funerals (examined this in light of his 3 criteria)
and concluded it was not good because it didnt prevent states form being attacked and took away from the people and did not win the blessing of the Lord and ghosts
Heavens will: p. 90: Mozi believed it to be established and predicable. Wheres theres right there is life and death where this is wrong. Heaven governs the Son of Heaven.
Condemned musical performances b/c they are expensive. o References the sage kings on page 109.
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Mencius (Mengzi) Linda Ge
Background -Follower of Confucius -Beliefs are in opposition to Mozi and Xunzi in particular -Believes in necessity of partiality (as opposed to Mozis impartiality)
-Believes in inherent goodness of human nature (as opposed to Xunzis belief that human nature is inherently bad)
Main Ideas: 1. Human nature has innate potential to be good 2. Self-cultivation leads to development of internal goodness 3. Role of government is to provide constant livelihood to the people
Human Nature has Innate Potential to be Good -People are born with a seed of goodness in their heartsif they become corrupt it is because of their external environment
-Ex. Suppose someone suddenly saw a child about to fall into a well: everyone in such a situation would have a feeling of alarm and compassionnot because one sought to get in good with the childs parents, not because one wanted fame among their neighbors and friends, and not because one would dislike the sound of the childs cries (129)
-Everyone would respond instinctively to go and rescue the childthey are not doing a cost-benefit analysis like Mozi would suggest, they do it because of instinctthey must be good by nature.
-If people had to do a cost-benefit analysis before deciding to rescue the child, they would be inhuman in Menciuss eyesMencius believes that Mozis system of analyzing cost-benefit of everything destroys peoples seed of goodness
-Ex. Human natures being good is like waters trending downward. There is no human who does not tend toward goodness. There is no water that does not tend downward (145)
-Natural for humans to be goodeveryone has ability to be sage, but if they dont become a sage, its because they didnt cultivate their inner goodness
-Ex. As for their essence, they can become good. This is what I mean by calling their natures good. As for their becoming not good, this is not the fault of their potentialthe heart of compassion is benevolence. The heart of disdain is righteousness. The heart of respect is proprietywe inherently have [benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom] (148) -Almost exact same quote on pg. 130 -These four characteristics are given to us at birth
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Self-CultivationDevelopment of Goodness -Self-cultivation (like cultivating a plant) through rituals (although role of rituals is reduced in Mencius compared to Confucius) leads to goodness, which Mencius defines as being instinctively able to respond in the appropriate way to a situation -Ex. Seek it and you will get it. Abandon it and you will lose it (148)
-As long as you cultivate your inner seed of goodness, you will be able to become benevolent, but if you choose not to cultivate it, then you will be repressing that goodness.
-Ex. One must work at it, but do not aim at it directly. Let the heart not forget, but do not help it grow. Do not be like the man from Song (127)
-This quote is followed by the anecdote of the man who tried to help his grain grow faster by pulling it up out of the ground a little bit each daygoodness is like a plant. It can only be cultivated naturally over time through rituals, which let you develop that instinctively benevolent response to all situations
Role of Government is to Provide Constant Livelihood for People -People cannot focus on developing their goodness if theyre hungry, so it is the responsibility of the ruler to provide a base level of means with which his people can survive so that they can have the time and energy to cultivate goodness -Government itself can do nothing to make people good
-Ex. To lack a constant livelihood, yet to have a constant heartonly a scholar is capable of this. As for the people, if they lack a constant livelihood, it follows that they will lack a constant heart (122) -Constant livelihoodessentially food, clothing, etc.
-Developing of goodness is up to the individual, but the government can facilitate that by providing people with supplies
-Ex. Suppose Your Majesty were to bestow benevolence in governingAll under Heaven who wish to complain of their rulers would all desire to report to Your Majesty (122)
-Can increase population/power simply by being a benevolent ruler and providing for your people
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Laozi (author of the Daodejing) Rick Goldstein
I. Main Facts/Ideas about Laozi & the Daodejing a. Laozi was a Daoism philosopher, an advocate of The Way and non-action.
i. The Way you cant explain the way 1. A way that can be named is not a constant way 2. Its essentially the idea of the world in an undifferentiated
state a. When humans act towards achieving world goods /
power / wealth, they disrupt the way b. Removing oneself from the way doom
ii. Non-action Dont get caught up in worldly pursuits, free oneself from desires.
1. Wealth just complicates life. iii. Ignorance is bliss rulers should keep the populace ignorant.
b. Embrace Simplicity i. Avoid Contention
1. War = BAD 2. Retreating is better than attacking, retreating weakens the
enemy. ii. Passivity conquers the world
1. Put yourself last, and you will be first 2. Follow the example of water be supple, yield to others 3. Be the sapling, and yield to the wind
a. The strong trees with unyielding roots, are destroyed in storms.
b. While the sapling travels with the winds and comes out unscathed
II. Laozis View of Human Nature a. We are all part of the Way,
i. But when we seek wealth, we remove ourselves from the way, which is dangerous
ii. Laozi advocates simplifying our lives 1. Act spontaneously, with no expectation of reward 2. Calm oneself 3. Train to be calm and still. 4. Never try to obtain too much, stop once youve achieved
what you need.
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III. Laozis View of Goodness a. To reiterate, human desires encourage humans to remove themselves
from the Way. b. This is bad, the highest virtue is to return to the way. c. When the great Way is abandoned, there is chaos.
IV. Laozis View of Self Cultivation? a. Education = BAD b. Instead, remove oneself from the pursuit of wealth c. Be humble d. Non-action
V. Laozis View of Rulers a. A ruler should maintain a shadowy presence.
i. IE dont interfere with the state b. When all goes well, people wont know who to appreciate, which is good c. Knowledge = bad, so keep populace in the dark. d. War = Bad the violent wont die a natural death.
VI. Chapters 80 + 81 (page 202) are good summaries of Laozis Way a. Simplify life b. Dont use tools c. Make sure people fear death d. Savory Food, Comfortable Clothes and Homes are all thats necessary to
live a good life e. Avoid confrontations f. Dont accumulate goods.
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Zhuangzi Shiyu Wei, Jeremy Ying
Lived roughly around 4th century BCE, which was during the warring states.
I. Main argument / philosophy - Passages Chapter 1 Wandering Round and About
Minnow and Breeze Small vs. big, shallow vs. deep Story of the big gourd (p. 212) smashed up big gourd b/c didnt know what to do with
them, but couldve have thought up imaginative uses for them. Chapter 2 On Equalizing Things
Conversation between Master Dapple and Ziyou True/false; this comes from that(p.217). The sage goes along with things. Point/nonpoint (p. 218) better to use a nonpoint to show that a point is not a point Three in the morning Happy monkeys with 4 bananas in the morning The Way (p. 220)
The great way is not announced. The great debate is not spoken. Great benevolence is not benevolent. Great modesty is not reserved. Great courage is not aggressive. A way that shines does not lead. Words in debate do not reach. Benevolence that is constant is not complete. Modesty that is pure is not trustworthy. Courage that is aggressive is not complete.
(p. 221) Convo btw. Gaptooth and Royal Relativity: not everyone has the same likes and
dislikes. We think Lady Li is beautiful, but the fishes would commit suicide when they see her.
(p. 222) Master Nervous Magpie and Master Long Desk: Question of dreaming, how do we know we are not dreaming? Cant simply take what someone says to be very profound. How do we know Confucius is a sage?
(p. 223) Argument who is to say what is right or wrong in an argument. Harmonize and go with it, and youll live out your long years.
(p. 224) Shadow and Penumbra Why are you like this? Well, how should I know why I am like this? How should I know why I am not otherwise? Tie to the idea: Sage should just go along with things.
Zhuangzi dreaming of the butterfly. Chapter 3 The Key to Nourishing Life
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(p. 224) Butcher cutting up the ox follows the way the flesh grows, thus never needs to sharpen his knife.
(p. 225) Commander Right (amputee) Heaven makes things unique (p. 226) At the funeral of Laozi, Qin Shih tells people shouldnt cry continuously because
death is the divine release. Chapter 4 Human Realm
(p. 226) Yan Hui and his business trip plans o Comical language in Sheesh o His predictions are basically his preemptions of Yan Huis plans- indications that
his philosophies of righteousness and the dichotomy between external and internal behavior is too restricting = futility in actions
o Cant be outwardly right and inwardly dispassionate or the vice versa either o This Kongzi has realized the narrowness of his path and tells him to fast with the
mind o Voice becomes distinctly Zhuangzian
(p. 229) Zigao, the Duke of She with a really tough mission o Balance due to the Way is the only way to accomplish things o Critique of people taking things too seriously o Stick to the job and forget about yourself (Zhuangzian argument) o Communicate the real essence, not exaggerated words- RECTIFYING names? o Entropy with yin-yang o Confucian- not what they do, but what they say since words give actions their
meaning (p. 231) The amputee Royal Nag who has more followers than Confucius
o Comical Ive been running late and hes going to be a student of Royal Nag o Kongzis comment- hes a sage because he can have stillness in the face of
everything, even losing a limb o Looking at whats there vs. what is not there o Again, specifically Zhuangzian tone of existing in the physical (obliquely
contradicts Confucian value of living to make the world a better place- just live in the world!)
Chapter 5 Signs of Abundant Virtue (p. 233) -Duke Ai and the Ugly Prime Minister
Love what moved the form (qi) instead of the form itself Note that the Confucian ideal has been reached- someone spontaneously making people
like him, but the process is different Not through ritual, but through the letting go of worrying about change, and being hidden
in harmonious Virtue (whatever that means) Chapter 6 The Great Ancestral Teacher
(p. 236) True people knew nothing loving life and nothing of hating death, this is the mind not blocking the way.
Hide the boat in obscure place but can still lose it. However if you hide it in the world, then you wont lose it, the boat will just be in a different place.
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(p. 237) Master Sacrifice, Master Chariot, Master Plow, and Master Arrive on sickness and dying. Master Chariot is so physically messed up, says he does not dislike it if he turns my buttocks into wheels Ill spirit into a horse, Ill climb aboard. Moral: dont be afraid of change!
(p. 239) The meaning of ritual and Kongzi o They wander outside of the rules, and I wander within them o Seems very un-Confucian because he said he is punished by heaven to be
wandering within the rules, however, his entire goal is to happily pursue goodness through ritual cultivation
o Deliberate skewing of Confuciuss words with petty people and princes/gentlemen
(p. 240) Gain the name while lacking substance o Mengsun is beyond knowing- hes letting change just take him over, and he rides
on top o Kongzi and Yan Hui are still dreaming (thinking)
(p. 242) Im improving o Yan Hui forgets all of his teachings o Similar to Confucian harmonious ease with trained spontaneity, but different
process o Again, a parody of the Kongzi
Chapter 7 The Proper Way for Emperors and Kings
The ancient sages slept calmly woke blankly sometimes they took themselves for horses.
Whish and Whoosh drilled a hole in All-full and he died. Cant apply what is unique to you to others.
Chapter 12 Heaven and Earth Zigong saw a man manually ladling out water to crops. The man was angry at the
suggestion of using technology, and preferred the pure simplicity for spiritual life. Maybe a mockery of Confuciuss emphasis on ritual?
Freak giving birth in the middle of the night and see whether the child will look like her worrying about the trivial things, the looks of things.
Chapter 13 Heavens Way
Wheel chiseler asks Duke Huan why he reads sages when they are dead since the works are only leftovers. Have to practice it yourself. Practice over theory?
Chapter 14 Heavens Turning
Use boat when traveling on water. Dont use the past to travel on the present. The right application of tools.
Xishi looked beautiful even when glowering. Dongshi looked ugly when she tried to copy.
Chapter 17 Autumn Floods
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Animals and their legs Kui (mythical 1-legged beast) => millipede: how do you manage those legs? Millipede => snake: how do you move without feet? Snake => wind: how do you move? They move by heavenly mechanism. We should do what is natural.
Frog in the well frog thinks hes in a big world, but the turtle proved otherwise. Again the scale of things.
Zhuangzi and Huizi talking about how happy the fish are in the Pu river. Huizi says: how do you know? You are not a fish. Zhuangzi replies: how do you know I dont know? Etc.
Chapter 18 Perfect Happiness
Zhuangzi squatting beating on a tub and singing although his wife died. Not sad because her body just transformed into a truck.
Chapter 19 Penetrating Life Ferryman can handle boats really well
Those who value what is on the outside are clumsy on the inside Forgetting everyone around him is how the guy works
Chapter 20 The Mountain Tree
A chain of predators: cicada
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Zhuangzi sees it differently: The world in which we live in is changing constantly, all of that is the way birds flying, fish swimming. We dont leave the way to return to it. Humans as exceptions Humans uniquely have consciousness; we think by the heart and the mind. We use this as birds use wings to swim. We convince ourselves that the world isnt one flexible changing-ness and create an artificial world that we remove ourselves from the constant changingness. When we die The qi will become pieces of trees, worms, birds that eat my body. This will go on and will go on forever. We are depressed by the thought of death b/c we foolishly ultimately cling to the distinction between one and pieces of one in other things. If fully embrace the way, then can truly embrace being a human being. Embrace the endless flux and transformation that is in the world. Morality Zhuangzi doesnt talk about morality. But bank robbing is away from the way. So being one with the way is moral. Dont follow Zs teaching thinking being moral/immoral, that wrecks the path to the way. This accomplishes what Confucius teaches at a higher level. Morality would come spontaneously. Trained Spontaneity Practice piano so can play it sensing the nuances of the musically spontaneously. Interacting with the WORLD Do we simply accept everything around us, what about concrete political societies that suck? At this stage, some ppl might think, this sounds great and abstract, if we are going to change the world for the better, then we need to sit down and think about what institutions needs to be established. Z says: his teachings leads to humans create great worlds, humans be all that they could be. This is a perfect solution to breaking all the attempts by the ruling powers to control us. So one basic question is to think through this. Put this in practice. Basic moral: Stop studying, go play. Nothing matters. All is part of the way. Go dream of butterflies. Yeah-huh!
II. How is he relevant for Chinese philosophy? Sima Qian called him as the founder of the Daoist school. Incorporates the philosophies of Laozi and Confucius. However, that is an oversimplification. Xunzi incorporates Zhuangzis ideas.
III. Important concepts The Way A constant changingness Is/is not - relativity Point/nonpoint
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Relationship to Confucius C making the concession that Zhuangzis conception of the way more broad and acclimated to metaphysical things. Confucius is toward practical. Confucius says his own way is limited, but Zhuangzis way is so much better.
Deformed people, amputees, how they can also be perfect
IV. Potential IDs See Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden)
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ORIGINAL TAO: INWARD TRAINING and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism
By Harold D. Roth Tierney Morikawa
tienthe heavens -naturalistic connotations associated with this term
-powers and activities utterly spontaneous and naturalbecome models for other sorts of natural impulses and abilities
vital essencethat which brings things to life when it flows amid heavens and earth we call it ghostly when stored within the chests of humans, we call them sages -the essence of the vital energy vital energy: -is bright, dark, vast, lofty -can be secured by inner power developing inner power involves holding onto vital
energy -true condition of the mind: calmness numen- spirit Human Nature -the ruling principle is to be tranquil -if you encounter others with a good flow of vital energy, they will be kinder to you than your family; but if you encounter others with a bad flow of vital energy, they will harm you -be inwardly tranquil and outwardly reverent to return to your innate nature -Chi is everything: it is matter, energy and spirit! (you have unrefined and refined chi, but its all chi) -we all have vital essence Goodness -rewards are not enough to encourage good/(punishments are not enough to discourage bad): instead the flow of vital energy must be achieved -we are connected with everything around us, so you should live your life energizing yourself and things around you, refining our Chi Self-Cultivation -Cultivate your mind, make your thoughts tranquil, and the Way can thereby be attained. (54) -use the Way to cultivate the mind and align the body -Align your body, assist the inner power, then it will gradually come on its own. (66) -we all have a numinous mind residing in us; if we relax efforts to try and control the numinous mind, its vital essence will naturally stabilize (70) -calm/well-ordered mind awareness word/implementation (action) order -chase away the excess, abandon the trivial -deep thinking generates knowledge, but do not plan things out in advance or it will be ruined -everything in moderation and you will naturally reach vitality -it is about controlling your thoughts and actions to ensure maintenance of vital energy
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-Follow this Way of restricting sense-desires and the myriad things will not cause you harm. (96) The Way = the One -For Taoists, the Way is the ultimate power in the cosmos -ineffable/cannot be known as an object -but it can be merged with, accorded with or directly experienced -sometimes involves total self-transcendence -what infuses the body -daily we make use of its inner power -has no fixed position, but when the mind is tranquil and the vital breath is regular, the Way can be halted -when people attain the Way, they are sustained -people who can transform without expending vital energy and to alter without expending wisdom are the ones who hold fast to the Way -the Way fills the entire world, but people dont understand it -Reverently be aware [of the Way] and do not waver, and you will daily renew your inner power. (76) inward attainment -when you maintain the Way, you will not be swayed by temptations (relaxed, yet acutely sensitive) -when you allow yourself to be overcome by any emotion, you cannot achieve the Way (because you are unbalanced) Important Passages: When people lose [the Way] they die; When people gain it they flourish. When endeavors lose it they fail; When they gain it they succeed. (56) The Sage: Alters with the seasons but doesnt transform, shifts with things but doesnt change places with them. (58) When the vital energy is guided, [the vital essence] is generated, b But when it is generated, there is thought, When there is though, there is knowledge, But when there is knowledge, then you must stop. Whenever the forms of the mind have excessive knowledge, You lose your vitality. (60) You think and think about it And think still further about it, You think, yet still cannot penetrate it Unify your awareness, concentrate your mind,
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Then your eyes and ears will not be overstimulated. And even the far-off will seem close at hand. (82) As for the life of all human beings The heavens bring forth their vital essence, The earth brings forth their bodies. These two combine to make a person. When they are in harmony there is vitality; When they are not in harmony there is no vitality. (86) To bring your anger to a halt, there is nothing better than poetry; To cast off worry there is nothing better than the rites; To hold onto the rites there is nothing better than reverence; To hold onto reverence there is nothing better than tranquility. (88)
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Xunzi Tana Jambaldorj
Xunzi believed in rituals like Confucius but believed human nature is selfish and disgusting so we also need laws for orderliness. However, he emphasizes that while human nature is bad, it is not all that we posses. We have the faculty to see and hear and have emotional dispositions, all of which can be trained through ritual to reach any level of goodness. All humans are equally endowed to reach the greatness of a sage.
Xunzi had a lot of distaste for Mozi, similar to Mengcius, but also believed in institutions. However, rather than punishments, believed in promotions and meritocracy based on Confucian ideals of serving good. Unlike Zhuangzis belief that we make artificial judgments with our heart-mind, Xunzi believes that we should consciously be making these artificial distinctions to organize society. Without these distinctions, we are selfish animals, but as humans we are uniquely endowed to create an organized world, and because of it we have a responsibility to do so.
He thinks of Heaven as the spontaneous workings of the world, it is amoral. No divine power gives us morality, so we must create the correct world for ourselves.
Important points in the teaching: Learning: Where does learning begin? Where does learning end? I say: Its order begins with reciting the classics, and ends with studying ritual. Its purpose begins with becoming a noble man, and ends with becoming a sage. If you truly accumulate effort for a long time, then you will advance. Learning proceeds until death and only then does it stop. (Chapter 1) If you exalt ritual, then even if you are not brilliant, you will be a man of the proper model. If you do not exalt ritual, then even if you are an acute debater, you will be only a dissolute scholar. (Chapter 1) Self-cultivation: Ritual is that by which to correct your person. The teacher is that by which to correct your practice of ritual. When ritual dictates thus-and-so, and you are thus-and-so, then this means your disposition accords with ritual. If your disposition accords with ritual, and your understanding is just like your teachers understanding, then this is to be a sage. (Chapter 2) Humans: What is that by which humans are human? I say: It is because they have distinctions. Desiring food when hungry, desiring warmth when cold, desiring rest when tired, liking the beneficial and hating the harmful- these are things people have from birth. These one does not have to await, but are already so. However, that by which humans are humans is that they have distinctions. Of distinctions, none are greater than social divisions, of social divisions, none are greater than rituals, and of rituals, none are greater than those of sage-kings. (Chapter 5)
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Why are humans able to form communication? I say: It is because of social divisions. How can social divisions be put into practice? I say: It is because of standards of righteousness. And so if they use standards of righteousness in order to make social divisions, then they will be unified. If they are unified, then they will have more force. If they have more force, then they will be strong. If they are strong, then they will be able to overcome the animals. And so they can get to live in homes and palaces. Thus, that people can order themselves with the four seasons, control the ten thousand things, and bring benefit to all under Heaven is for no other reason than that they get these things from social divisions and standards of righteousness. And so human life cannot be without community. If they form communities but are without social divisions, then they will struggle. If they struggle, then there will be chaos. If there is chaos then they will disband. If they disband then they will be weak. If they are weak then they cannot overcome the animal. And so they will not get to live in homes and palaces. This is the meaning of saying that one must not let go of ritual and standards of righteousness for even a moment. (Chapter 9) The Way: The Way of the former kings consists in exalting benevolence. Cleave to what is central in carrying it out. What do I mean by what is central? I say: It is ritual and the standards of righteousness. The Way is not the way of Heaven, nor is it the way of earth. It is what whereby humans make their way, and that which the gentleman takes as his way. (Chapter 8) Government: There are chaotic lords; there are no states chaotic of themselves. There are men who create order; there are no rules creating order of themselves. Rules cannot stand alone, and categories cannot implement themselves. If one has the right person, they they will be preserved. The rules are the beginning of order, and the gentleman is the origin of the rules. (Chapter 12) Heaven: The activities of Heaven are constant. They do not persist because of Yao. They do not perish because of Jie. If you respond to them with order, then you will have good fortune. If you respond to them with chaos, then you will have misfortune. If you strengthen the fundamental works and moderate expenditures, then Heaven cannot make you poor. If your means of nurture are prepared and your actions are timely, then Heaven cannot make you ill. If you cultivate the Way and do not deviate from it, then Heaven cannot ruin you. Thus, floods and drought cannot make you go hungry or thirsty, cold and heat cannot make you sick, and aberrations and anomalies cannot cause you misfortune. (Chapter 17) Ritual: Ritual has three roots. Heaven and earth are the root of life. Forefathers and ancestors are the root of ones kind. Rulers and teachers are the root of order. Without Heaven and
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earth, how would one live? Without forefathers and ancestors, how would one have come forth? Without rulers and teachers, how would there be order? Of these three, if even one is neglected there will be no one safe. And so, ritual serves Heaven above and earth below, it honors forefathers and ancestors, and it exalts rulers and teachers. (Chapter 19) I say that human nature is the original beginning and the raw materials, and wei, deliberate effort, is to pattern and order it and make it exalted. If there were no human nature, then there would be nothing for deliberate effort to be applied to. If there were no deliberate effort, then human nature would not be able to beautify itself. Human nature and deliberate effort must unite, and then the reputation of the sage and the work of unifying all under Heaven is thereupon brought to completion. (Chapter 19) Heart-mind: The heart must know the Way, and only then will it approve of the Way. Only after it approves of the Way will it be able to keep to the Way and reject what is not the Way. If one chooses people using a heart that approves of the Way, then one will accord with people who follow the Way, and one approves of the Way and to join together with people who follow the Way when judging what is not the Way- this is essential thing for good order. (Chapter 21) How do people know the Way? I say: it is with the heart. How does the heart know the Way? I say: It is through emptiness, single-mindedness, and stillness. Chapter 21) Human Nature: Peoples nature it bad. Their goodness is a matter of deliberate effort. Now peoples nature is such that they are born with a fondness for profit. If they follow along with this, then struggle and contention will arise, and yielding and deference will perish therein.  If people follow along with their inborn nature and dispositions, they are sure to come to struggle and contention, turn to disrupting social divisions and disorder, and end up in violence. So it is necessary to await the transforming influence of teachers and models and the guidance of ritual and the standards of righteousness, and only then will they come to yielding and deference, turn to culture and order, and end up under control. Looking at it in this way, it is clear that peoples nature is bad, and their goodness is a matter of deliberate effort. (Chapter 23) Someone suggests: Ritual and the standards of righteousness and the accumulation of deliberate effort are peoples nature, and that is why the sage is able to produce them. I answer: that is not so. The potter mixes clay and produces tiles. Yet, how could the clay of the tiles be the potters nature. The craftsman carves wood and makes utensils. Yet, how could the wood of the utensils be the craftsmans nature? The relationship of the sage to ritual and the standards of righteousness can be compared to mixing and producing things. So, how cold ritual and the standards of righteousness and the accumulation of deliberate effort be peoples original nature? (Chapter 23)
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Han Fei Zi Amy Vo
280BC233 BC, Warring States Period. Together with Li Si, they are students of Xunzi and founders of Legalism. Historical Background: Han Fei was born into an aristocratic family in the state of Han. Han Fei saw the gradual decline of the state of Han and tried on several occasions to persuade Hans ruler to change policies, but the king proved incapable of following his advice. Ultimately, Han Fei's works made their way to Qin where the future First Emperor saw them and wanted to meet the man who wrote them. Li Si, who then was the chancellor of Qin, identified the writings as those of Han Fei, and Han Fei did come to Qin eventually. But even though the First Emperor was pleased with Han Fei's advice, he did not fully trust him. Li Si played on the suspicion that being a member of the royal family of Han, Han Fei could never be entirely loyal to the interests of Qin. Through a series of conspiracies, the First Emperor accepted Li Sis advice and had Han Fei imprisoned for a crime. Han Fei tried to defend himself, but he could not get an audience. Li Si sent Han Fei some poison forcing him to commit suicide. Han Fei had no other choice but killed himself. The First Emperor later regretted his condemnation of Han Fei and was going to pardon him, but Han was already dead. Han Fei had the problem of stuttering and could not present his ideas in court very well, which was a serious impediment. But he established a reputation of brilliant writing styles through his book, Han Fei Zi. Legalism Legalism has a focus on strengthening the power of the ruler, of which law is the critical role. Legalism was a pragmatic political philosophy that does not address higher questions such as ethics and morality like the other schools of thoughts do. Han Fei Zi believed that a ruler should use the following three tools to govern his subjects:
Fa (law or principle): The law code must be clearly written and made public. All people under the ruler were equal before the law. Laws should reward those who obey them and punish accordingly those who dare to break them. Thus it is guaranteed that actions taken are systematically predictable. If the law is successfully enforced, even a weak ruler will be strong.
Shu (tactic or method): Special tactics are to be employed by the ruler to make sure others don't take over control of the state. Especially important is that no one can fathom the ruler's motivations, and thus no one can know which behavior might help them getting ahead.
Shi (legitimacy or power): It is the position of the ruler, not the ruler himself or herself, that holds the power. Therefore, analysis of the trends, the context, and the facts are essential for a real ruler.
In the book of Han Fei Zi, Han Fei writes his ideas and thoughts from the perspective of a ruler. He does not seem to have been the least bit interested in determining what form of government was most ethically justified. His goal was simply to determine which measures were most
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effective in ensuring the continued survival of the state and furthering the public interests of the ruler and his people. Hei Fei rejected the Confucian and Mohist claim that a ruler should model his government on the values and institutions of the ancient sage-kings. He maintained that each stage in the development of human civilization comes with its own unique set of problems, and so the rulers of each age must be able to come up with new measures for dealing with these problems. In addition, Han Fei believes that in order for a state to sustain over time, it needs to depend upon a system of government, not necessarily exemplary rulers. Han Fei was also concerned about the proliferation of what he regarded as politically dangerous or socially useless groups of people. Among the groups singled for criticism by Han Fei are: classical scholars (i.e. Confucians), wandering orators, private swordsmen, draft dodgers, and merchants. FROM LECTURE AN AMORAL PHILOSOPHER
Believes the Confucian implications of self-cultivation are dangerous Well-educated people will thwart the state and ruler You cant have subjects who think too much
THE POWER OF INSTITUTION Make a system of regulations, and establish them so that people dont even realize that
they are following the rules You will create a bureaucracy that will run on itself; the ability of the ruler is irrelevant Analogy to America the arbitrary laws that we dont think about
WHAT THE RULER SHOULD DO Be paranoid. Subscribe to a Laozian philosophy of non-action In essence, a legalist philosophy.
FROM READING Lived during the Warring States period, in which Han was under constant threat of being taken over by the Qin perhaps leading to his amoral and pragmatic political views CH 5 the ruler must subscribe to Daoism
He must not show his inner self; and instead allow his ministers to show themselves to him
He must strictly administer reward and punishment CH 6 the importance of law
Rulers must use public law, not private judgment Everything is based off of a universal standard
They must create a hierarchy in which superiors are always obeyed, and punishments are always given out
And the ministers will be your mindless servants CH 7 the two handles
Punishment and favor
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A minister should not do any more or any less than his own duty; he needs to subscribe within the boundaries of his office
Key is to hide your own likes and dislikes so that the real character of your ministers is revealed, and they cannot deceive you
CH 8 who can rule? Shenzi and Han Feizi: you simply need a power of position to get things done. This
status is more powerful than worthiness or wisdom Critic: Power is good in the hands of the benevolent, but very dangerous in the hands of
the bad CH 12 persuasion of a ruler
You must match your argument to the heart and desire of your listener! If you want to persuade a ruler, highlight the good qualities of that person to make him
proud, but disregard the bad CH 43 use of administrative methods or governing through laws (??)
Administrative methods: assign office based on peoples qualifications Government through law: lay out standards and then punish those who violate them You need both to govern successfully!
CH 49 the five vermin And you cannot use love of your subjects or benevolence to keep order you must use
law Consistent implementation of punishment is key
Orators, swordsmen, merchants, and craftsmen are also vermin Han Feizi prefers farmers and infantry
CH 50 the two dominant schools of thought Rulers listen to Confucianism and Mohism, but they are conflicting schools of thought
and therefore the minds of rulers are disordered And you must decide by peoples actions, not their words
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Sima Qian- Records of the Grand Historian Joyce Yang
Biographical Information - Lived around 145-89 BC - Records of the Grand Historian was planned and perhaps written in part by Sima Qians
father, Sima Tan, who was the Grand Historian at the court of Emperor Wu (Han Dynasty)
- Historical context o Emperor Wu wanted to create an improved version of the legalist Qin empire;
believed that the Emperor Qin did not correctly understand the ideology decided to create a legalist state disguised as a Confucian state, in order to obtain legitimacy
o Emperor Wu recreated the grand mass infantry of the Qin, aiming to take over parts of Central Asia. During this failing campaign, General Li Ling surrendered because he had no other choice; thus he faced harsh punishment. Sima Qian was the only court official to spoke out in defense of Li Ling. As a consequence, he was sentenced to imprisonment and torture, but then the penalty was changed to castration. In such a case, the accused would normally commit suicide, but Sima Qian decided to accept his punishment so he could finish writing the history of China
- While Records of the Grand Historian is ostensibly a history, Sima Qian also writes implicitly, offering a critique of the empire and the entire period during which he lives. According to Professor Puett, Sima Qians vision is similar to Confuciuss in practice there are no easy answers to anything, and you should live your life moment by moment, training yourself to be as good as you can. However, Sima Qians major underlying point is that one single vision or philosophy cannot explain everything at all times; we must break down the barriers between the different schools of thought. We should not always take a simple, easy approach to interpreting things, or else this may lead to people failing to live up to situations or fail to judge others properly.
Summary of Shi ji 15: Reflections on the Rise of Qin (p. 65-83) Plot: Zhao Gao (chief eunuch) fears that the Second Emperor would blame him for the uprisings occurring throughout China. Thus he plans a coup and the Second Emperor commits suicide. Zhao Gao then installs Ziying, one of the emperors nephews, as the new emperor. Ziying, suspecting that Zhao Gao plans to assassinate him, assassinates Zhao Gao first. The other states soon overthrow Ziying and the Qin dynasty The First Emperor trusted his own judgment, never consulting others, and hence his errors went uncorrected. The Second Emperor carried on in the same manner, never reforming, compounding his misfortune through violence and cruelty. Ziying stood alone and friendless, weak and imperiled, with no one to aid him. All three rulers were deluded, and to the end failed to awakenis it not fitting that they perished? (p 76)
These emperors failed because they were stubborn in their views and refused to see things from different perspectives. This is something that Sima Qian criticizes throughout the work.
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That is why, when the gentleman is given charge of a state, he observes how things were done in ancient times, testes them in terms of the present day, sees how they tally with human concerns, examines into the cause of flourishing and decay, perceives what is fitting in the light of circumstances, initiates actions in the proper order, and changes with the times. (p 77)
Combination of Confuciuss emphasis on antiquity/sage kings and Xunzi and Han Feizis emphasis on adapting to the present
Also, underlines the importance of closely analyzing the situation
But the First Emperor was greedy and short-sighted, confident in his own wisdom, never trusting his meritorious officials, never getting to know his people. He cast aside the kingly Wayleading the whole world in violence and cruelty (p. 81)
Same idea as first passage; also shows that Sima Qian was not completely objective
The former kings perceived the changes that occur in the course of events and understood the secret of survival or downfall. Therefore their way of shepherding the people was simply to assure them of security So it is said, a people who feel secure may be led into righteous ways, but a people who feel threatened easily turn to evil. To be honoured as a Son of Heaven, to possess the riches of the empire, and yet to be unable to escape execution comes from failure to correct misdirection. Such was the Second Emperors error (p 83)
Summary of Shi ji 15: Reflections on the Rise of Qin (p. 85-87)
1- Qin at its most virtuous and righteous could not compare to Lu and Wey at their most violent and cruel, and its military strength was no match for that of the Three Jin states. Yet in the end it united the whole world under its rule. This was not necessarily due to its mountain barriers or the advantages of its geographic situation. Rather it was as though Heaven had aided it (pg. 86)
2 - Scholars, influenced by what they have heard, see that the Qin occupied the position of emperor for only a short period, and they fail to examine the beginning and end of the matter. Hence they refer to the Qin only as an object of ridicule and decline to say anything more about it. This is as ridiculous as trying to eat with ones ear, and lamentable indeed (p. 87)
o In both the above passages, Sima Qian points out that, despite both the ruthlessness and the short-lived nature of the Qin Dynasty, it actually managed to accomplish a great deal. These passages reflect Sima Qians emphasis on the importance of approaching a given matter from different perspectives. Even though the legalist Qin state had many faults, it managed to end the Warring States Period, which was a huge achievement. Also, just because the empire fell quickly doesnt automatically mean that it was a complete failure. Those who make simplified, unsubstantiated judgments are erroneous and misguided.
3 - Nevertheless, there are things worth noting even in the shifts of power of the Warring States period. Why must one learn only from high antiquity? Qins seizure of the empire was accompanied by much violence, yet it managed to change with the times and its accomplishments were great (p. 87)
o Same idea as passages 1 and 2
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o Also, here Sima Qian resembles Xunzi and Han Feizi, who believe that rulers should learn from more recent history and focus on adapting to the current state of affairs. This is different from Confucius adherence to antiquity and the ritual practices of the ancient sages.
4 - A certain text tells us to model ourselves on the rulers of later times. Why? Because they were closer to us, their customs and happenings of their times resemble ours, and their ideals are lowly and easy to practice (p. 87)
o Same idea as passage 3 a certain text refers to Xunzis writings
p. 167-178, Records of the Grand Historian
The Biography of Jing Ke Storyline
Jing Ke is a master swordsman, lives in the land of Yan The king of Qin is taking over various lands and it looks like Yan will be next; the Prince
of Dan (heir to Yan throne) worries what to do (is first a hostage of Qin, then escapes). Prince of Dan asks his tutor Ju Wu what to do; Ju Wu suggests he consult Master Tian Master Tian goes to see Jing Ke and commits suicide in order to encourage Jing Ke to act
to save Yan Jing Ke goes to see the Prince, tells him of Tian's death. The Prince asks Jing to go to
Qin, offer the king some proposal, and slay him. Jing Ke declines for a while and finally agrees, but doesn't set off, requiring the head of
General Fan to take as an offering. Prince won't give it, so finally Jing Ke gets Fan to commit suicide. Jing Ke hesitates
some more and finally sets off with young Qin Wuyang. Jing Ke heads to the king, presents the head, pulls out the dagger but hesitates, during
which the king survives and runs away. king of Qin attacks Yan with more fury, kills associates of Prince Dan and Jing Ke. Gao Jianli, a musician, is allowed near king of Qin, gets his eyes put out, but still tries to
kill king with lead in his lute. Sima Qian judging the situation:
Of these five men, from Cao Mei to Jing Ke, some succeeded in carrying out their duty and some did not. But it is perfectly clear that they had all determined upon the deed. They were not false to their intentions. Is it not right, then, that their names should be handed down to later ages? (178)
Examination of empires: the expanding empire is the enemy in this case (eating away at the lands of the other
feudal lords(168) and Qin has a heart that is greedy for gain (171)). Perhaps Sima Qian thinks that its mistake is that it forced every ruler within the four
seas to acknowledge its sovereignty. (171) Examination of character:
although Jing Ke spent his time with drunkards, he was a man of depth and learning. Storytelling technique:
inclusion of songs: Winds cry xiao xiao/ Yi waters are cold etc (174)
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details, and conversation: The prince bowed twice and then, sinking to his knees, crawled forward, the tears starting from his eyes. After some time he said, I only cautioned... (171)
P. 227-237, Records of the Grand Historian Sima Qian's Letter to Ren An
(describes the course of events leading to his punishment and castration) Brief Storyline
you (the addressee) recommended caution in dealing with others I have heard that to devote oneself to moral training is the sign of wisdom quote
continues (229) there is nothing worse than castration; from old times men have been ashamed to
associate with eunuchs (229) I have done nothing great in twenty years at court a misunderstanding with Li Ling: we weren't close, but he was a good man. He made one
mistake in battle, I defended him, and I was accused of trying to deceive the emperor. A man has only one death. That death may be as weighty as Mount Tai, or it may be
light as a goose feather. It all depends upon the way he uses it. metaphor of a tiger in a cage, begging for food.
Sima Qian on history I too have ventured not to be modest but have entrusted myself to my useless writing.
. I have examined the events of the past and investigated the principles behind their success and failure (236)
The reason I have not refused to bear these ills and have continued to live.... is that I grieve that I have things in my heart that I have not been able to express fully. (235) (He wants to continue his writings.)
On empire: Our enlightened ruler did not wholly perceive my meaning and hoping to broaden His
Majesty's view (232) On people:
A gentleman must be ever careful of proper conduct. (233)
MR 78 Final Study Guide Pg. 33
MR 78 Final Study Guide Pg. 34