II. Classical Confucianism
1. What can we still learn from Confucius’s thought today? What is, according to you, out-of-date in Confucius’
2. When did Confucius live? What was the title of the book attributed to him? Who started to call his school
a. He lived from 551-479 BC
b. Lunyu, The Analects was attributed to him compiled conversations of Confucius with his disciples and
visitors. And recorded by his disciples and followers.
c. Rujia, was first used by the Grand Historian Sima Qian in 100BC
3. According to Wing-tsit Chan, in what sense did Confucius has determined humanism as the outstanding
characteristic of Chinese Philosophy.(SB p.15)
a. Judging on the basis of The Analects alone, he believed that man “can make the Way (Tao) great” and not
that “the Way can make man great” he concentrated on man
b. His primary concern was a good society based on good government and harmonious human relations
c. Advocated a good government that rules by virtue and moral example, rather than by punishment or
4. According to Wing-tsit Chan, what are the five basic concepts of humanistic philosophy of Confucius?(SB p.15)
a. The rectification of names (insisting that not just the social order in which names and ranks are properly
regulated, but also the correspondence of one’s own words and actions)
b. the Mean (having a central and balanced mind)
c. the Way (#3)
d. Heaven (Supreme Power was called the Ti, but Confucius never spoke of Ti and instead, often spoke of
Tien (heaven); Heaven is no longer the greatest of all spiritual beings who rules in a personal manner, but
a Supreme Being who only reigns, leaving his Moral Law to operate by itself meaning men should rule
for himself, not the heaven, therefore heaven should have less role)
e. jen (humanity): Confucius evolved this new concept; particular virtue of kindness, especially the kindness
of a rule to his subjects the man of jen is the perfect man, the true qun-zi
5. What does xiao (filial piety) mean? Why should there be filial piety? Explain the “internal reason” Confucius
gave for filial piety.
a. Internal Filial piety: a virtue of “being good to one’s parents” or those who have raised one up, so as to
maintain a loving and respectful relation. reciprocity of love
b. Slide 10: If you feel at ease, then do it….. you can sill enjoy life even when your parents passed away,
but in general we 守孝三年 bcz at 3 years old is when kids start to leave their parent’s 懷抱
6. Explain Confucian external(social) function of filial piety and respect for elders.
a. Social function of the root of humaneness
b. It is rare to find someone that is filial and is inclined to offend their superiors. And among those who are
懶得去 offend their superiors, you will rarely find one that incline to create disorder
c. Junzi concerns himself with the root when the root is established, the Way (dao) is born
7. Explain the three meanings of li(ritual) in ancient China.
a. Sacrificial ceremonies
b. Institutionalized social/political order
c. Codes of behavior
8. Philosophically speaking, what is the main contribution of Confucius to li? How did he lay the transcendental
foundation of li?