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This course provides a survey of Chinese philosophy from the ancient to the late-imperial period. The first part of this course focuses on Pre-Qin (pre-221 BC) philosophers like Confucius, Mencius, Xun Zi, Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi, Hanfei Zi and Mo Zi, and deals with Han (206 BC–220 AD) Confucian Dong Zhongsu and Wei-Jin Metaphysics (220-420). After the mid-term, this course first examines Chinese Buddhist schools such as the Consciousness-Only School and the Chan School, and then investigates Song-Ming Confucianism (960- 1276; 1368-1644) with emphasis on North-Song Confucians, Zhu Xi, Lu Jiuyuan and Wang Yangming. We also discuss Huang Zongxi, Dai Zhen, Kang Youwei and Tan Sitong from the early to late Qing period (1644-1911).
As to academic approaches, this course concentrates on philosophical analysis as well as combines contextual and textual studies. We examine the major works of Chinese philosophers through the following approaches: (1) a solid understanding of the traditional exegesis and the history of classics, hermeneutics and canonization, (2) a study of the contexts of intellectual history and the history of philosophy, (3) an investigation of the values concerning life, society and politics in philosophical texts, and (4), most importantly, an analysis of central concepts, the system of philosophy, the mode of thought and the logic of argumentation.
The topics we discuss include the meaning of life, social values, moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, ethics, political philosophy, cosmology, metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, religion, intellectual history, history of political culture, comparative culture and philosophy, etc. The readings of this course are mainly the primary and secondary sources of Chinese philosophy in Chinese. Besides, selective English scholarship on Chinese philosophy will be used to foster students’ analytical ability and enlarge their horizons in comparative culture and philosophy.