Section 1. Confucianism: In this section we
examine Confucianism’s fundamental ethical concepts as well as the notion
of what it means for humans to have a well-ordered society. We will
analyze the passages from the Analects as well as the writings of Mencius.
We will then examine some developments in Neo-Confucianism. The conceptual
emphasis for this section will be on “family,” “personal cultivation,”
Section 2. Taoism: In this section we examine the fundamental metaphysical concepts of Taoism, as well as their cultural implications. The emphasis will be on the concepts of “reality” and “Nature.”
Section 3: Hinduism: Perhaps the oldest of the Asian philosophies, Hinduism is a vital religious and cultural force not only in India but also among many people elsewhere in Asia. In this section we examine the fundamental classical texts (The Vedas and the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita) as well as some influential contemporary writings (Gandhi, Aurobindo). The conceptual emphasis in this section is the notion of “existence,” “moral action,” and the “ultimate self.”
Section 4. Buddhism: In this section we will study the fundamental concepts of Buddhism, from India, China, and Japan, as well as their historical development as the philosophy migrates from India to China to Japan. The emphasis will be on the concept of the “self” and “freedom.”
Section 5. Shintoism and Shamanism: In this section we will examine some of the indigenous religious practices of East Asia, in particular the I-Ching and the divination traditions in China, Japanese shintoism, and Korean shamanist traditions.
Section 6: Philosophy and Modernity in East Asia Today: In this section we will study some contemporary philosophical or philosophically informed cultural writings. We will examine the ways in which the concepts studied in the previous Sections are expressed in contemporary theoretical framework, as well as focus on the ways in which the debates engage the West. In addition, we will examine the broader contemporary discussions which have relevance to the previous 4 sections. In particular, we will examine issues such as contemporary business practices and Confucianism, human rights issues, Japanese philosophy and imperialism, and contemporary Buddhist social activism.
The course is primarily conceptual. It is designed to follow the First Module on history. This module is designed specifically for philosophical in-depth discussions and reflections about the reading materials. The emphasis will be on analysis, critical assessment, evaluation, integration, and synthetic thinking. So please be prepared to engage yourself with the reading material at a personal level and discuss your ideas with others.
? The reading (Lin Yutang and Jane English) for the first day is attached
to this syllabus.
? Please purchase Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu) on your own. Any translation (we will compare them).
? A copy of Bhagavad Gita is optional. It is a beautiful text and you should have one in your collection of books, but a selection will be included in the Reader.
? A copy of I-Ching is optional, though a good idea to purchase, as they are meant to be “used” in its entirety.
? Additional xerox reading material will be available (Reader).
The reading assignments must be read before the class.
2. Final Paper. (40%). The final paper, 10-12 pages, which will build upon the mid-semester paper, will also focus on analysis and evaluation.
3. Participation and Discussion (35%). Weekly attendance and participation are required. Each week, there will be assigned “discussion leaders” who will bring in insightful questions which are relevant to the material for the rest of the class to discuss.
? General introduction of the course, including explanations for each
of the sections.
? What is Philosophy? What is Ethics?
? Background for Confucianism: Philosophical Foundations of Society
Reading: Lin Yutang, “On Growing Old Gracefully” and Jane English, “What Do Grown Children Owe Their Parents?” (handout attached)
Section 1: Confucianism:
Class 2 (Feb 5): The Analects
? Concepts of Hsiao, Jen, Li, and Tao
Reading: Selected passages from the Analects (see the list attached to Lin Yutang handout for the passages). We will look at the passages on the list but also use the entire book.
Class 3 (Feb 12): Confucianism continued: Mencius, Critics, and Beyond
? Ethics and contemporary discussions on Confucianism
? Video on Confucianism and business in today’s Asia
Reading: Mencius (reader), Xunzi (reader), Ivanhoe.
Section 2: Taoism
Class 4 (Feb 19): Chuang Tzu
? Introduction to Taoism
? What is “metaphysics?”
? The Taoist conception of Nature
? On “Qi-gong” practice
? Passages from Chuang Tzu
Reading: Chuang Tzu, sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (pp.23-72).
Class 5 (Feb 26): Chuang Tzu Continued, Lao Tzu
? Chuang Tzu
? Passages from Lao Tzu
Reading: Chuang Tzu, sections 6, 7, 17, 18, 19, 26 (pp. 73-140). Lao Tzu/Tao Te Ching (short selection in the reader, but also the book you have purchased).
Class 6 (Mar 5): Confucianism and Taoism: A Dialogue
? Summaries of both, as well as critiques and discussions
Section 3: Hinduism
Class 7 (To Be Scheduled—no class 3/12): Historical and Theoretical Background
? The classical texts: the Vedas and the Upanishads
? Hindu Practice (Video)
Spring Break: March 19
The first paper on Confucianism and Taoism will be due March 26
Class 8 (Mar 26): The Bhagavad Gita and the Contemporary Philosophical and Religious Worldview from Hindu Thought
? The Bhagavad Gita
? Ghandi, Aurobindo
Section 4: Buddhism
Class 9 (Apr 2): Theoretical Background: India and China
? Buddhism in India
? The theory of the “no-self”
? Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
? Suffering, Compassion, and Enlightenment
? The “Middle Way”
Reading: “Selected Essays on Buddhism,” Suzuki
Class 10 (Apr 9): Chan and Zen Buddhism; Culture and the Arts
? The “Middle Way”
? Chan practice, Zen practice
? Culture and Art
Reading: Suzuki; “Shin Shin Ming”; Mallas piece, Ten Oxherding Pictures, Haiku
Class 11 (Apr 16): Summary of Buddhism, with conceptual references to Hinduism
Section 4: Shintoism and Shamanism
Class 12 (Apr 23):
? Shintoism in Japan
? Korean Shamanistic traditions
Reading: Selections on Shintoism; Korean Shamanism; I-Ching
Section 5: Philosophy and Modernity
Class 13 (Apr 30): Philosophical Issues in China, Korea, and Japan: Engaging the West in the 20th Century
? Human rights and democracy issues in China
? Korean philosophy and the West
? Japanese philosophy and the West
? Zen philosophy and Japanese Imperialism: Critiques
Reading: “Rights, Liberalism, and China”; “Korean Philosophy in the 20th Century”; “Zen and Nationalism”; Nishida and the Problem of Modernity.
Class 14 (May 7): Philosophical Issues in China, Korea, and Japan: Engaging the West in the 20th Century Continued
Class 15 (May 14): Buddhism and the Contemporary World
? Socially Engaged Buddhism
? Buddhism and Women
Readings: “Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism”
Class 16 (May 21): (Final Paper Due): Presentations of the Papers; Summary and Discussion of the Course
Please keep a copy of your paper either on your computer or on a disk, in case it becomes lost (unlikely, but could happen). You can turn your papers in electronically (MS Word): email@example.com
Feel free to talk to me about any concerns you may have about the course. I am always interested in what you have to say.