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UGA 2150 L1 - Origins and Features

UGA 2150 L1 - Origins and Features - UGA 2150 Lecture 1 1...

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UGA 2150 Lecture 1 1 Origins of Chinese Philosophy “Philosophy proper” (reflection, argumentation, modification): Begins with Ru P / Mo P dispute Many core assumptions have earlier roots. 1.Natural (moral) order: Nature follows patterns and moral norms - Learning and following them helps ensure success in difficult, changing environment - Failure to follow brings disaster - Importance of ritual P (repeated behavior that “works”)
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2 2. Natural social hierarchy: Each individual has a social and familial role in the social-political-cosmological order - Political hierarchy, family, spirits and ancestors - Perform role well maintain harmony that benefits everyone - Ethics seen as rooted in kinship structures and traditional customs; politics an extension of kinship Ruler/subject :: father/son Social duty centered on and growing out of “filiality” P
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3 3. Moral responsibility of the ruler: Mandate depends on fulfilling responsibilities to Heaven and people - Failure to rule morally loss of legitimacy - Moral character, not just policy - Responsibility parallel to father’s responsibility for family 4. Wisdom of the past: Tradition, experience reflect natural order - Respect for and responsibilities to ancestors and elders
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4 Shang Dynasty P ° (1766–1122 B.C.) Earliest written records: Oracle bones P ° and ritual bronzes - King seeks help from ancestral spirits, nature spirits, supreme lord ( shàng dì h° ) - King responsible for maintaining good relations with spirits and thus leading community successfully Shàng dì h ° a personal god, but remote from people Influence spirits and ancestors through ritual sacrifices - Sincerity important—not merely sacrifice, but virtuously
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5 - Respect for ancestors and their advice - Responsibilities to spirits and ancestors
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6 No metaphysical divide between spirit world and this world - Social structure crosses boundary between life and death, humans and spirits/ancestors - Unlike Judeo-Christian God or heaven, but like Greeks - “This-worldly” feature of Chinese religion, culture, thought Oracle bones collected in archives - Analyze records to determine regular, reliable patterns of behavior of spirits - Lessons of past are key to success
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