UGA 2150 L2 - Confucius and Analects

UGA 2150 L2 - Confucius and Analects - UGA 2150 Lecture 2 1...

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UGA 2150 Lecture 2 1 Confucius and the Analects Confucius ( K ngz ǒ ǐ o &) (551-479 BCE) - Cultural hero: Myth vs. reality - China’s first moral teacher; first rú ú   identified by name “Confucian” ( rú ú ): “Scholars,” “literati,” “erudites” - Little or no influence during his lifetime, later mythologized into China’s greatest sage Mencius (late 4 th century BC): No one greater than Confucius - Biographical details: Fact mixed inseparably with fiction
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2 Born in L ǔ o   (today part of Shandong); shì ú class Possibly briefly held one or more official positions in Lu o Legend: Edited the classics (no historical evidence) Possibly military background; possibly illiterate Charismatic teacher; attracted circle of students Education and connections: path to office
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3 (“Classified Teachings”) - Sayings purportedly by Confucius and his students - Different collections circulated; final form in the Han dynasty Accumulated over hundreds of years Many parts written by third or later generation of followers - 20 “Books” 1-9 earlier (4 earliest?) 10-15 later 16-20 latest
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4 - Possibly record responses by later generations of followers to new circumstances Ancient Chinese culture: No concept of “authorship” Put wise words in mouth of ancient wise men Text is never “finished” Not a coherent, systematic, unified “work” - Result: Collection contains variety of statements, some potentially contradictory Example: Priority of “ritual” ( l ǐ ) vs. “benevolence” ( rén o ) - Shared themes, concerns, emphases—not systematic doctrines
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6 Implicit starting concerns: - Proper way to live (versus question of how to live) - What kind of people to be, how to become such people - How society should be ruled Central emphasis: - Social and individual cultivation to develop ethical-intellectual character to live well and contribute to ethical, orderly government and society - “Gentleman” ideal ( jūnz ǐ ) (“princeling,” “noble man”) Vs. “petty person” o &
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7 - Core virtue: rén o (humaneness)
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8 - Harmonious social and individual life, proper performance of social roles Not theoretical description of structure of reality Not theoretical account of ethical principles and justification
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9 Basic orientation: Commitment to dào o and virtue training - Develop virtues through practice ( xí ú ), concentration (self-examination x ǐ ng ú ), and study ( xúe ú ) - Practical training Education (classical syllabus: history, ritual, poetry, etc.) Practice (ritual, poetry, music) Character cultivation and preparation for office Emulate role models - Perfectionism: Dedication to embodying dào o
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10 Sage (o & ) ideal / jūnz ǐ ideal—perfected practice and character, not intellectual grasp - Comprehensive conduct of personal life and society “Ethical” vs. “moral” vs. “aesthetic”
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11 Core Ethical Concepts of the
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UGA 2150 L2 - Confucius and Analects - UGA 2150 Lecture 2 1...

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