Today we discuss the impact of Confucius on China’s traditional social structure and theories of government. The discussion of Confucius that you can find under the Files tab on bCourses will be important here. There is also a short list of quotations drawn from the Analects there. How does a Confucian society function? We will introduce ideas that will resonate throughout the semester. How does Confucius see government structured? What is the role of law? Though Confucius was a failure in his own time, why does his philosophy carry such power? The Pole Star theory of leadership will be introduced. The five relationships and the four classes will be set out. How can you make society harmonious? What is the role of law in a just society? The political thought of Confucius is what matters most.
We look at variations on the Confucian theme. Mencius and Hsun–Tzu (Xunzi) will be discussed. Why is the nature of man important to the way that a legal and political system is set up? What is the role of law in governing society? We will discuss the beginnings of Legalism in China. Han Fei-tzu will be introduced. Check the Module section of the website for links on Hsun-Tzu (Xunzi) and Han Fei Tzu. Some of the distinctions made by these thinkers will seem too abstract to matter, but they will matter a great deal.