Guide to first short paper
Basically, your paper should systematically presentKongzi’s ideas, as recorded in the Analects, on the following issues:
- What is Ultimate reality/the ground/the first principle? e.g., notions of tian (heaven)/dao (the Way)
- What is Humanity? e.g., What is human nature? How does Kongzi define a good person? How should a person cultivate oneself? What is the ultimate goal in life? What are some of the cardinal virtues of a person?
- Society/community/culture: e.g., What are Kongzi’s conceptions and definitions of ethics (What should one do?) and morals (What is my responsibility to others?)—can li (rituals/ritual order) be regarded as an expression of his ethics and morals? What are his views on government? In what ways does his political philosophy relate to his ethics?
- The Past: e.g., How does Kongzi view history? What is the role of the past (including the ancient sage-kings) in his thinking? How does he view the Zhou dynasty, for instance?
- Nature: e.g., What does Kongzi have to say about nature? (You will not find too much information on this issue, as Kongzi does not talk about it directly much.)