East Asian Languages and Cultures | Early Chinese Philosophy
E374 | 1487 | Eno

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 as 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 as 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
course.  The debaters who will be central for us will include
Confucians (Confucius, Mencius, Hsun Tzu), Mohists (Mo Tzu), and
Taoists (Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu.).  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
as 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

Credit given for only one of EALC E374 and PHIL P374.