Confucius Mine

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Transcript Confucius Mine

Confucius
A way of life:
“I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the
center of your being.” Confucius
What is at the center of your being?
Revised, 8/30/08
Confucius (Kung Fu-Tzu)*
(551-479 BC)
& Confucianism
*Family name = Kung (Kong)
Personal name = Zhong-ni
Kung Fu-Tzu (Kong Fu-zi) = “Master Kung”
“Confucius” = Latinization of “Kung Fu-Tzu”
Reading from
the Analects
(Text, pp. 1-14)
The Ancient
State of Lu
ancient State
of Lu
That’s where Confucius
was born & spent most
of his life.
The primary sources of
Confucian philosophy
Confucius claimed to derive his teachings from
“the Ancients,” whose wisdom is embodied in
“The Five Classics” (Wu Jing)
The I Jing (“Book of Changes”)
 The Shu Jing (“Book of History”)
 The Shih Jing (“Book of Odes” [poetry])
 The Li Ji (“Book of Rites”)
 The Ch’un-ch’iu (“Spring & Autumn Annals”)

The further expression of
Confucian philosophy
“The “The Four
Books” (Ssu-chu)
Four
Analects (Lun-Yu)
 The Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong)
 The Great Learning (Ta-hsueh)
 The Book of Meng-Tzu (Mencius, 371-288 BC)

Central concepts in Confucian thought
Metaphysics
Ontology & Cosmology

Dao (“Way”) - the Ultimate; the One; the Absolute;
the underlying Power; the Source

Yin/Yang - the dual expression of Dao; neither is
superior to the other

The Plural World - the universe; Heaven & Earth;
an ever-changing expression & blend of Yin & Yang
(Heaven is Yang in relation to Earth; and Earth is Yin in relation
to Heaven; but each is, in itself, a blend of both Yin & Yang.)
Yin & Yang
female
dark
cool
moist
passive
negative
evil
Earth &
moon
Heaven &
sun
male
bright
hot
dry
active
positive
good
"A basic difference between the
“Chinese conception of yin and yang and
other classical philosophical dualisms…is
that whereas most dualisms are forever in
conflict, yin and yang always act in harmony,
and both are considered to be necessary to
maintain the order of the universe."
(Bilhartz 262)
Confucian metaphysics, continued
Theology

Shang-Ti (God), the original ancestor (after the 11th
century BC)

Heaven (Tian,T’ien) - the divine realm (Human beings who
have died live on with Shang-Ti as ancestors (ti) in Heaven.)

Continuity & interchange between Heaven (the divine
realm) and Earth (the human realm), i.e., between the
ancestors & those living on Earth.
Spiritism
(spirits everywhere, good
[shen] & evil
[gui]).
(T(The ancestors are to be worshipped, and sacrifices are
to be offered to them; they, in turn, will guide and protect
us, especially with regard to our futures (divination
practices). When we die, we will join the ancestors in
Heaven and become ancestors ourselves.) and become
[No hell(s)?].]
ancestors ourselves.)
Confucian metaphysics, continued
Anthropology
(Human Nature & the Human Predicament)

Human nature:
◦ naturally & inherently
good - need for
cultivation via education
◦ naturally social & political
- development &
perfection of human
nature within the social
& political realm

The human predicament:
◦ suffering as a result of failure to
follow the “Way of the
Ancestors”
◦ Disharmony & conflict between
Heaven & Earth, between the
ancestors & us; and between
humans here on earth
◦ Solution of problem of suffering:
reestablish harmony
Confucius’s primary goal:
order, harmony, peace, & happiness in this life
here on earth
(He had only a secondary interest in
“transcendental” salvation.)
Central themes in Confucian
ethical theory:

The Chun-Tzu - the
ideal of the Superior
(self-actualized,
virtuous, perfected)
Person

The Chun-Tzu is an
exemplification of ideal
virtue, of Yi, of Ren, of Li, and
of Hsiao –
Yi - righteousness, just and
appropriate conduct

According to Confucianists, there is an
objective, absolute, and unconditional moral
obligation on all of us to work for universal
human well-being, the common good, the
general welfare (which will include one's own
true good):
◦ Objective = not subjective; not relative; the
obligation is independent of culturally and
individually variable states of opinion,
preference, feeling, or response.
◦ Absolute = it extends throughout the whole
sphere of moral obligation and cannot be
suspended or overruled by any more basic
or ultimate moral principle with a wider
range of applicability.
◦ Unconditional = this obligation does not
depend on the fulfillment or non- fulfillment
of any particular set of facts or
circumstances which may or may not
happen to occur - facts, for example, about
our desires, aspirations, or goals in acting
one way rather than another.
See Hackett, Oriental Philosophy, pp. 29-31.
• Ren (jen) - virtue*
– Positive formulation:
cultivation of feeling
(respect, empathy,
compassion, love) for all
humanity (Text, pp. 3-5)
– Negative formulation: the
Silver Rule (Text, p. 7, vv. 85
& 86)
*Sometimes translated as
“humanity”
Confucian ethics, continued
Li - Propriety (proper conduct)


The Rectification of Names
(Zheng-ming) (proper use of
language)
The Doctrine of the Mean
(Zhongyong)

The Five Constant
Relationships:
◦ parent-child
◦ husband-wife
◦ elder sibling-younger
sibling
◦ elder friend-younger
friend
◦ ruler-subject
Confucian ethics / Li, continued
Filial Piety (Xiao, Hsiao)
(devotion to & reverence for parents & family)
The institution of the family is the
foundation of a well-ordered & civilized
society (grounded mainly on respect of
children for parents)
 Respect for age (experience & wisdom)

Confucian ethics / Li, continued
Religious Propriety
proper practice of traditional rites
(worship of God, ancestors, Heaven, Earth,
spirits; funeral services & sacrifices in honor of
parents)
Confucian ethics (& aesthetics?), continued
Wen
(learning & the arts)

The importance of
culture in the creation
& maintenance of a
well-ordered society

Studying & learning

The arts - especially music
(Confucius composed a “Book
of Music” [Yueh Jing], which
is sometimes referred to as a
“sixth classic.”)
Confucian axiology, continued
Confucius’s Political Philosophy

Te - the union of power & virtue

The characteristics of a good ruler (or civil
servant):
◦
◦
◦
◦
moral goodness (virtue & propriety)
rationality
moderation
benevolence