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General Education
General Education Ethical Reasoning 18
Michael Puett

YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide Philosophers A. Confucius – Kongzi a. TheAnalects – written by his followers and students after his death b. The Zhou dynasty was declining, nobody was really appearing to take over, so there was an emergence of states c. Confucius leaves office to read/write/teach others and claims: i. Literacy is not enough, being a good person is vital ii. Has no clue about the afterlife… BUT WHY is it human place to care? iii.Teaches the way – a gentleman, shows a portrait of him philosophy 1. Interactions with others, how we treat people differently (partial caring—friends and family vs. people that we don’t know), includes things like filial piety iv. Everything is constantly shifting based on our experiences, we are not constant 1. We are constantly changing our dispositions, our experiences, etc. 2. We cannot become products of our environment, rather realize that our actions have the power to change others and situations v. This is important because we must build better communities and a world of better human beings vi. Rituals – how you behave in different situations, endlessly performing rituals humans are ritual creatures 1. DO NOT – do it without knowing, understanding what the ritual means, this is how we teach children to say please and thank you and they don’t even know the meaning behind the concept, a. We have been socialized into performing mundane rituals 2. This is what we do—so we are really bad ritual creatures, therefore, we must train ourselves to gain a SENSE OF GOODNESS a. FOCUS ON WHAT WE KNOW: common, mundane, being a good human being b. Sense the situation and sense others, and then bring out the best in yourself and in others c. In order to do this, you must understand your impact on others, and become better at impacting them through better understanding of rituals/situations, and become a better person while doing this, the slightest tone, gesture, etc. can elicit different kinds of responses, feedbacks, helps us train ourselves better d. Train yourself to understand the power of your behavior and its ripple effects, sense the situation YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide 3. Another kind of ritual—funeral services you act/sacrifice and do it as if they are present, do it yourself, do not hire someone to do it, you are in part who you are because of them, understand what they did for you, how they influenced you, etc. vii. Our goal is to develop GOODNESS = getting a sensibility for interacting better with other people B. Mozi a. Born after Confucius, disagreed with everything Confucius said except that we aren’t living life the way we should be i. Human psychology is not well founded or benefitted by cultivation or training b. Believed in rationality and practicality i. Creating clear standards for people to follow, standards that will hold 1. Because of the lack of a consensus, side with our near/dear  favoritism, battle and divisions, this is very dangerous and causes factions/issues a. If we create a uniform system of rules/standards everyone agrees on, along with impartial caring (see below) a better system is possible ii. Create and absolute rational system based on calculations of what is the greater good iii. “Utilitarian standards” – if you’re good, you will cause benefit of state/others/everyone 1. What is good is what is the benefit of MOST PEOPLE! 2. ONLY END BENEFIT! Forget dispositions. c. System of rewards and punishments – Building a pure Meritocracy i. Create mobile, bureaucratic meritocracy FOCUSED ON HUMAN BEHAVIOR, and over time reward/punishment system will guide people until the good behavior becomes innate ii. Appeal to their basic self-interest, people want to be rewarded iii. Heaven rewards and punishes, remember the dynasties iv. Ghosts are everywhere (Mozi might not have believed in them) but we have to convince people that they will be punished if they do something bad, even if gov’t doesn’t catch 1. Ghosts reinforce good moral behavior! Do X, reward; do Y, punish. Bam v. Instill this system so much that it will become natural/instinctive for people to do good d. Views of Confucius ideas- cost benefit YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide i. Music – costly, expensive, STOP MUSIC. Waste of resources, no greater benefit. NO ii. Funeral services/mourning – wasting time/labor, no more mourning, should get right back to work for the state, for the greater good, stop wasting your energy iii.Daily rituals – irrelevant, impartial caring, behave the same way towards everyone, treat family of others like your own, no differentiation 1. No concern for dispositions, only rational calculations 2. Impartial caring- say to people to desire benefits for everyone as for self and dislike harm for everyone as for self, treat everyone like treat yourself iv. Military/war/fighting – make it so that there is no incentive to attack each other e. Created a paramilitary organization i. Would enact all of these tenets and lived under all of these established rules ii. Protected states and regions that were being attacked 1. This would hopefully stop others from attacking until nobody would anymore, or so that was the goal—no more military activity C. Mencius – Mengzi a. Responds to Mozi, he needs to develop a way to defend the Confucian philosophy i. Distrusts the Mohist reward and punishments system ii. Mencius wants to give people the vocabulary to help achieve the basic Confucian vision 1. Cultivate yourself and become an extraordinary person- a sage, extend your excellence onto the world around you to allow others to also become better b. Mencius tries to return to “inner dispositions” – focus on our potentials c. Human nature is at birth good – we are born good i. Gives example of baby falling into the well, potential for goodness ii. “Sprouts” – born with, gives this metaphor 1. We must cultivate this raw material, our goodness potential, into good blossoming flowers and then extend this onto others YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide 2. If you nourish and cultivate these sprouts of goodness, you will begin to feel physically different a. Through daily rituals and sensing, we can cultivate these sprouts b. Then you will physically feel that you are becoming a better person 3. If you don’t nourish or force the growth of these sprouts, they will die and you will become miserable and inhumane a. This is what is constantly happening to us because we are not cultivating our sprouts, and then we extend this bad qi onto others, causing them to be miserable as well. b. Those that are superior must also feel this way, and their positive qi— the people will be able to feel this as well i. There is good qi and there is bad qi—the goodness and rush you feel after exercise good qi and anger may be bad qi, both are energies, you must experience flood-like good qi ii. Good qi and bad qi are both contagious – depending on your qi you will extend that experience on to others as well. d. Use our heart-mind example to then sense situations and sense qi in order to become better i. Center of emotions and cognitive faculties – connect your qi to world around you ii. Refine your qi and this will lead to an UNPERTURBED HEART 1. Regardless of if something good or bad happens, you must encounter every situation with an unperturbed heart and refined moral qi, do not let it perturb your heart. e. Leaders - Allow subjects to naturally grow by providing them the BASIC NECESSITIES of life - food, water, shelter, warmth - at which point they can turn to self-cultivation i. Rulers are the farmers that cultivate sprouts within all individual subjects – 1. cultivate your people 2. provide inspiration 3. don’t push them too hard YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide D. Laozi – the old master, not sure if he exists, Puett argues that it is a unified text/vision a. If we spend our lives unhappy, greedy, desirous, we die young, miserable, weak b. Establish one-ness with the way, you will become unbelievably effective in the world around you, long-life, happiness, and filled with energy qi i. Strength lies in weakness, suppleness, flexibility, stillness, emptiness, softness 1. In modern society, we do not subscribe to this and instead are headstrong/strive to force our way through life 2. Attack the supple lines after depleting their resources—when they reach over their ability, that is when you strike 3. Weakness ultimately wins, NOT strength b/c by playing weakness to other's strength, we are never dominated 4. People will begin to feed off of your stillness, elicit sensibility, shape other people’s interactions, appeal to all sides of people a. Sense the interrelatedness of everything, interact with our world with the perspective that our every action has a ripple ourselves, etc. = reaching the Way 5. Calming, sensing how to respond to other people ii. NONACTION 1. Leading a meeting is all about SOFTNESS - sense the Way, sense dynamics of individuals in the room 2. Just as water in a river gently runs downstream to carry its constituents, the individual should guide others in life in the same Way 3. Actively bring everyone together through VISIBLE inactivity (but implicit great activity) 4. Lead by seeming to follow, do not assert your power over other people 5. Creating a world that everyone wants to live in without asserting your own personal ambition, do not try to control others, no competition 6. Things/ideas that people will not question c. The Dao – the way – cannot truly be defined, but can get closer to understanding it i. Everything is absolutely interrelated – Everyone working together 1. Everything comes from the way and returns to the way, grass, empires, etc YamnaAnwar 12/8/13 Chinese Philosophy ER 18 Final Exam Study Guide a. Everything is born out of nothing, and everything DIES to become nothing = return to the Way 2. If you differentiate, you are removing from Way, destroying the way a. Amoral text because benevolence, righteousness, good and bad, these are all distinctions that destroy the Way ii. The Way is nothing, in a LITERALTHING iii. Cosmologically, It is EVERYTHING in its pure, undifferentiated state = nothing d. Paradoxical focus on weakness E. Inward Training a. No author, miscellaneous text i. Comparable vision of the Way of Laozi, using DIFFERENT VOCABULARY b. Short-lived  You can only achieve greatness through vitality and through Inward Training i. Train yourself, feel more alive, energize yourself c. Uses mystical language to prescribe actual practices of the Way i. Everything is fluid ii. Focus on vital energy – QI – everything in the world is qi, electricity is qi, air is qi, heavenly stuff is highly energized qi 1. Vital energy (everything) 2. Vital essence =
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