Topics for Paper I, REL302 Chinese Religions

Double-spaced, not more than 700 words.

Due in class, Friday, October 15, 2010.

Be sure to write your name, the name of the class, and the title of your topic (Four Ethical Theories, Orchestral Vision, Golden Rule) at the top of the page.

I also strongly encourage you to read the essays on my Writing web pages, especially "Four Keys to Writing in the Humanities," "Paper Writing Guidelines," "Checklist for Papers," and "Writing: The Bridge between Consciousness and Unconsciousness."


1. Four ethical theories. Take one passage from Confucius' Analects (You can use one of the many passages that are quoted in the book by Fingarette or in the articles from the Course Reader by Graham or Ivanhoe.) and analyze it in relation to the four types of ethical theories discussed in class: consequentialism, deontology (duty), virtue, and care. Which of these fit, which do not fit? Could they all fit? In what order of importance? Be sure to pick a passage that allows you to discuss this in some detail. Note: The fact that your examination focuses on one passage from from Confucius' Analects doesn't mean that you can't refer to other passages quoted from the Analects in making your arguments. Use the main passage you select as the focal point of your discussion but be aware of the larger picture of Confucius' world view.

2. Orchestral vision. Present at least five ways in which Mozart's Requiem Mass is an apt analogy for Confucius' orchestral vision of humanity, society, and the Tao. Also discuss the ways in which it is not an apt analogy, i.e., differences between Confucius' vision and Mozart's vision of the Requiem.

3. Golden rule. Ivanhoe tells us that , in the Analects, chung and shu define Confucius' version of the Golden rule. Which scholar do you think has the right interpretation of the Golden rule of Confucius? (You do not need to refer to any passages or ideas outside of Ivanhoe and Graham's articles). What is his argument, what are the possible weaknesses, and can the intepretation be defended against these weaknesses?

4. Mencius in 1A7 (dialogue with King Hsuan, see reserve reading) instructs the king on how to be a good leader. Discuss why this dialogue depends on Mencius' view of human nature (hint: sprouts, Mencius 2A6) and one other element of his view of morality (involving content of human nature, structure of human nature, or course of development of morality).