Name Instructor Subject Date Benevolence and Righteousness versus Human Nature: The Tension in Confucianism Confucianism is a philosophy that argues that human beings are by nature virtuous (moral). It further says that these morals are cultivated/ nurtured when the social environment promotes social order. The most important values that humans should cultivate according to Confucianism are benevolence and righteousness which influences people to show compassion for family and strangers. With respect to human relationships Confucianism argues that people should just follow their nature which dictates that one would naturally love close family members than strangers. However there is tension in this worldview because humans are naturally inclined to meet their own desires such as pleasure and happiness rather than those of others be they family members or strangers. Human beings are by nature selfish beings. The nature of human beings is not to act morally or benevolently as Confucianism suggests cultivated righteousness and benevolence then they will care for others as much as they care for their self interests. It is not in human nature to be righteous or benevolent- they should consciously cultivate these virtues to become moral beings. In conclusion Confucianism’s argument that humans are naturally moral and good is self-defeating because it ignores the selfish nature of human actions. Human beings are motivated by what benefits them and not by a common good. The person who acts righteously or benevolently only does so when there are no competing self interests that is when their own interests are not jeopardized by acting righteously or benevolently. Confucianism contradicts itself therefore in arguing that people’s acts of benevolence are a manifestation of their nature of being good beings. Works Cited Ivanhoe Philip and Norden Bryan. “Mengzi (Mencius).” Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. New York: Seven Bridges Press 2001. Print. [...]
Write an essay, of four pages, 12 pt. font, 1” margins, double spaced, in response to one of the following prompts. The essay should be of your own thought, primarily as you reflect on the readings. The focus of the readings and your answers to the prompts should be the primary source, that is the excerpts from the original texts rather than the editorial explanations of the editor. Use of outside sources is discouraged. The purpose of the assignment is to provide an opportunity for you to make a close and intimate connection with some aspect of the philosophy we are studying and to digest and reflect upon it enough to make it your own. While it is very tempting to enlist the help of outside websites and sources, the result is too often that doing so interferes with the process of internalization and reflection. In order to receive an A or A- for the assignment the student will need to offer an insightful and reflected essay. In order to be insightful and reflected it is not necessary that it be completely original, in the sense of saying something that has never been said before. But it is important that the thought be creative in the sense that the student use their imagination and self-reflectiveness to provide either a position, an argument for a position, or examples to illustrate a point that are of their own construction. Writing a quality essay takes time, so starting early with pre-writing and writing early drafts is highly recommended. Please make full use of my office hours (T/Th. 2-3pm) or make an appointment with me to discuss your ideas, share a draft, or discuss any problems you are having with the writing. Also, make full use of the writing center on campus for help at any stage in your writing. (www.jcu.edu Whatever sources are employed, it is imperative that they be cited fully and appropriately, in MLA, Chicago, or APA citational format. Citing sources means referring to author, and page/passage numbers immediately upon quotation or paraphrasing, and offering a works cited list at the end of the essay which provides full bibliographic information about the sources you use. Failure to acknowledge either the use of another’s thoughts or expression of their thoughts in exact or paraphrased form constitutes plagiarism. Should any plagiarism occur the consequences will be failure of the assignment and referral of the case of academic misconduct to the Dean of Students. Papers are due at 11:59 pm, on April 28th, 2016 and should be submitted through the CANVAS Turnitin “Assignment” function online. Turnitin employs software to detect plagiarism, and other means may be employed as well to investigate possible cases of Plagiarism. Prompts: Choose just one, and write an essay in response: 1. Is there a tension within Confucian philosophy regarding the extent to which concern should be shown to those outside of one’s own family? On the one hand, familial relationships are treated as “primary” and special importance. On the other hand, kings are criticized for failing to take responsibility for the plight of the commoners in his kingdom. Explain and illustrate with reference to specific passages from the texts of the Analects and Mencius why there appears to be a tension regarding whether there is an important responsibility that extends to those outside of one’s own familial circle. Given this apparent tension, offer an argument for whether the tension is resolved, and if it is how it is resolved within these Confucian texts. Be as explicit as you can about the logic of the argument that you are presenting (eg. premises and conclusion).