East Asian Languages and Cultures | Early Chinese Philosophy
E374 | 20422 | Eno, Robert

This course carries COLL A&H distribution credit
This course meets with EALC-E574, PHIL-P374, and REL-B374 on same

Philosophical thought in China addresses an agenda different in
essential ways from that which has shaped philosophical discourse in
the West. Not only are central issues different, but axioms,
methods, standards, and concepts of truth in Chinese thought often
seem unfamiliar, elusive, or radically inadequate from a Western
perspective. Perhaps the most important battles in China's
philosophical history were fought between the years of 500 and 200
B.C., in the course of a single, prolonged debate that gave birth to
philosophy in China and largely set its agenda. The origins and
development of that debate will be the subject matter of this

The debaters who will be central for us will include Confucians
(Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi), Mohists (Mozi), and Taoists (Laozi,
Zhuangzi).  But we will also consider other figures whose ideas
helped shape early philosophy in this period, including Legalists,
Logicians, and Naturalists. To highlight the distinctiveness of the
agenda set by this debate, we will focus on a critical theme: the
tight linkage between knowledge and action in early Chinese
philosophy, and the complex concepts of knowing and human nature
which that linkage entailed.

Requirements will include midterm and final exams and two short
papers. Texts will include selected translations of the works of the
major thinkers.

For graduate students enrolled under E574, additional readings and
discussion meetings will be scheduled, and a substantial research
paper will substitute for the final exam.