The Dennes Room

Philosophy 153

Spring 2016

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
153 Chinese Philosophy Shun TuTh 2-3:30 122 Wheeler

The first part of the course will be devoted to a study of early Chinese thought, with focus on Confucianism (Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi) and Daoism (Zhuangzi), though there will also be references to other schools of thought. While we will attend closely to texts, including a discussion of the connotations of key terms and an analysis of important passages, the emphasis is on philosophical ideas in the texts. All readings will be in English translation and the course does not require prior knowledge of Chinese.

The second part of the course will be devoted to a philosophical discussion of themes in moral psychology that relate to Chinese thought. We will start with a methodological discussion of the way to bridge Chinese traditions of thought and contemporary philosophical discussions (primarily in the Anglo-American tradition). We will then engage in a sustained discussion of a cluster of related themes in moral psychology, such as: purity and sincerity, tranquility and equanimity, detachment, death and grief, resentment and forgiveness, acceptance as a way of coping with adversities, idea of ‘losing the self’, etc.

The overall goal of the course is to provide an understanding of Chinese traditions of thought in their proper historical and cultural contexts, and to illustrate a way of doing philosophical work with these traditions that does justice to their distinctive characteristics and insights.

Previously taught: SP14, SU13A, SU12A, SU11A, SU10D, SU09A, SU08A.