J495/H425 History of Chinese Thought 

Diana Lin/Fall 2007

Office: Tamarack F12
Phone: 980 6981
My website: http://www.iun.edu/~hisdcl
Email: dchenlin@iun.edu
Office hours: MW:9-10, 11:15-1, 2:30-4pm

Bibliography for outside readings.

Transliteration table: 

Two sets of transliterations are used in this course: pinyin and Wade-Giles.  The de Bary book uses pinyin.  The Wade-Giles system was developed by a British envoy and a missionary in late 19th/early 20th century China, a system to transliterate Chinese words into the English language.  Because its audience were Westerners, its pronunciation is Westerner-friendly.  The pinyin system was developed in China after 1958 to establish an alphabetical system for the Chinese language.  Because its audience is the Chinese, the pronunciation captures original Chinese pronunciations accurately but is not friendly to Westerners.  The following are two links of conversion between the pinyin and Wade-Giles system to facilitate our readings.  Conversion table for famous Chinese names, dynastics, etc.  Wade-Giles to Zhuyin to Pinyin Conversion Table

Bibliography of Chinese thought

Course Objective

The purpose of the course is a survey of the major intellectual trends  in Chinese history, from Confucianism of the 6th century B.C. to intellectual thought in the 16th century.  The focus is on the historical development of Chinese intellectual thought, including the particular contexts in which ideas originated and how they were adapted to new circumstances and given new meaning.

Required Readings:

One required book is available from the campus Barnes & Noble bookstore:

Wm Theodore de Bary, Sources of Chinese Tradition, v.1 (Columbia University Press, 1999).

Additional readings, including for the paper, can be found from IUCAT, JSTOR, the electronic warehouse for journal articles, as well as Project MUSE - Philosophy East and West, also accessible from campus computers.

Course Requirements:

Requirements include one research paper, 15-20 pages, typed, double spaced.  There are several stages to paper writing, including deadlines paper proposal, bibliography, annotated bibliography, and outline.  Please pay attention to those deadlines in the syllabus.

To facilitate the writing of the paper, there are monthly essays on a subject covered in the month.  These essays should be 2-3 pages long, typed and double-spaced. Your should assess the monthly readings with consideration that the reading may be a potential subject for your research paper.

Each student is also required to sign up for a presentation of one session's topic, including a brief summary of the text and a question for class discussion.  You can start signing up for your presentation on the first day of class.  I usually allow only one person to sign up for one session's presentation.  Therefore it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is also a monthly quiz on some of the major topics covered during the month.

Method of grading: all grades are assigned in percentages, which will be tabulated at the end of the semester and converted to letter grades. The averages of your take-home papers and of your weekly writing assignments will be taken to represent the grades for your take-home paper and weekly writing assignment. The conversion is as follows: 93-100: A; 90-93: A-; 85-89: B+; 80-84: B; 75-79: B-; 70-74: C+; 65-69: C; 60-64: C-; 55-59: D+; 50-55: D; 45-49: D-; 44 and below: F.
The grade distribution is as follows: 


   Class schedule

Historical maps of China.

Map of contemporary China.

    Week 1(Aug.27-Sept.2)

   Aug.27 Introduction.

   Aug.29  History of Chinese philosophy and different schools of thought during the Warring States Period. Notes.

   Discussion question: Discuss one difference between Chinese and Western philosophy.

   Week 2 (Sept.3-9)

   Sept.3 Labor Day. No class.

   Sept.5 Ancestral worship and Chinese thought.  de Bary, chap.1. Notes .

   Discussion question: According to DNK in de Bary, chap.1, what was the relationship between ancestral worship, kingship, and Ti (god, or heaven)? 

    Week 3 (Sept.10-16)   

   Sept.10 Early Chou Thought.   de Bary, chap.2. Notes.

   Discussion question: From the readings here, what was the relationship between the mandate of heaven, oracles, and rulers' conduct?

   Sept.12 The Six Schools and the Confucian School, an introduction.  Lecture Notes.

Discussion question: Compare two or three aspects of Confucian values with Western values.

   Week 4 (Sept.17-23) Monthly essay due on Sept.17. 

   Sept.17 Confucius and his Analects.  de Bary, chap.3.   Notes.  First quiz.

   Discussion question: What are the distinct characteristics of Confucian teachings as they appear to you, and in comparison with the pre-Confucian classical writings?

   Sept.19 (change) Different interpretations of the Confucian concept of ren (humaneness). Online reading: Jen as a Living Metaphor in the Confucian AnalectsNotes

Discussion question: How do you understand the Confucian concept of humaneness?

   Week 5 (Sept.24-30 )

   Sept.24 Readings in Mozi.  de Bary, chap.4. Notes.

   Discussion question: Where do you think Mo-tzu is most different from Confucius?

   Sept.26 Writings of Mencius. de Bary, pp.112-158. Notes.

 Discussion question: How did Mencius perpetuate Confucian learning? Where did he differ from Confucius, though?

   Week 6 (Oct.1-7)

 Oct.1 The nature of the Mencian concept of "human nature."  Online reading (new): Human nature and biological nature in Mencius Lecture Notes.

 Discussion question: How do you understand Mencius?

Oct.3 Writings of Laozi and Zhuangzi, de Bary, chap.5 (up to p.103).    Notes

   Discussion question: How do Laozi and Zhuangzi compare with Confucius or Mo Zi?

   Week 7 (Oct.8-14)

   Oct.8 Taoism (Daoism). Online reading (new): Yip, Wai-lim, Diffusion of distances: dialogues between Chinese and Western poetics, chap.3, pp63-82 (this book has an electronic version. You need to type in the book's title and author in the search categories, and follow the book's url address to chapter 3, which begins from p.63). Lecture Notes.

 Discussion question: How do you understand Taoism?

 Oct.10 Xunzi.  de Bary, pp.159-183. Notes.

   Discussion question:  How do you understand Xun Zi?

Week 8 (Oct.15-21) Monthly essay due on Oct.15.

   Oct.15  Legalism. Online reading(new): Socrates, Confucius, and Legalism. Lecture Notes.  Second quiz.

Discussion question: How do you understand Legalism?

   Oct.17 Readings in Legalism.  de Bary, chap.7.  Especially pp.193-206, on Shang Yang and Han Fei.  Notes. 

   Discussion question: Name two or three differences between the Confucians and the Legalists.

   Week 9 (Oct.22-28) Paper proposal due on Oct.28.

    Oct.22 Early Chinese cosmology, and School of Names.  Lecture Notes

Discussion question:  How do you compare ancient Chinese cosmology with your world view?

   Oct.24 General characteristics of early Chinese philosophy.  Lecture Notes

Discussion question:  Discuss one or two aspects of early Chinese philosophy in comparison with philosophical thinking you are familiar with.

   Week 10 (Oct.29-Nov.4) Bibliography due on Oct.29.

Oct.29   The establishment of Confucian orthodoxy.  Lecture Notes

   Discussion question:  Compare and contrast orthodox Confucian learning and Confucian learning as we studied it in previous weeks.

Oct.31 Codification of the Confucian canon. de Bary, 292-298, 305-beginning of 318.  Notes.

   Discussion question: What was the canonized Confucian learning and how did it relate to the imperial order and cosmology?  

   Week 11 (Nov.5-11 ) Monthly essay due on Nov.5.

Nov.5   The rise of Buddhism. de Bary, pp.415-beginning of 426.  Notes.

   Discussion question: Where do you think Buddhism fitted in the Chinese world of thought when it was introduced to China in the Han Dynasty?  Give examples.

Nov.7 Schools of Buddhist practice. de Bary, chap.17, only pages 481-484, 491-494, 514-519, 522-525, 529-535. Monthly quiz.  NotesThird quiz.

   Discussion question: What are the chief differences between the Pure Land and the Meditation Schools of Buddhism? Based on  what we have learned of Chinese intellectual traditions, why do you think the latter appealed to a smaller audience? 

   Week 12 (Nov.12-18)

   Nov.12 Song Dynasty Confucian revival. de Bary, 596-628.  Notes.

   Discussion question: How did Song Confucians use Confucian learning as a way of social reform, and why?  

Nov.14  Song Confucian approaches to history. Online reading (new): Neo-Confucian Uses of the Confucian Past  de Bary, pp.652-666.  Notes.

   Discussion question: What were the Song Confucians' views of history?   

   Week 13 (Nov.19-25 )

 Nov.19 Neo-Confucianism and human nature: Zhang Zai and the Cheng brothers.  Lecture  Notes

 Discussion question: How did Zhang Zai and the Cheng brothers develop upon Confucian learning?

Nov.21 Readings in Zhang Zai, Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi.  de Bary, pp.682-697.  Notes.

Discussion question: What were the views of human nature by Zhang Zai and the Cheng brothers?

    Week 14 (Nov.26-Dec.2) Annotated bibliography and paper outline due on Nov.26.

   Nov.26 Zhu Xi and human nature. de Bary, 697-714.  Notes.

   Discussion question: What was Zhu Xi's view of human nature?

   Nov.28  Creating the Confucian Way.  de Bary, pp.720-737. Notes.

   Discussion question: How did Zhu Xi's codification of neo-Confucian learning draw on previous schools of thought and why do you think he wanted to standardize Confucian learning at this point?

   Week 15 (Dec.3-9) Monthly essay due on Dec.3.

   Dec.3 Neo-Confucian thought in the Ming Dynasty. de Bary, chap.24: 842-855 (on Wang Yangming). Notes.

   Discussion question: How did the Wang Yangming school of thought develop upon Song neo-Confucian learning?

   Dec.5 Last day of class. Online reading (new): Confucius, Mencius, and Zhu Xi: the Interpretation of Ren(humaneness) Lecture Notes  Fourth quiz.

    Paper due on Dec.12.