Week 13 (Apr 10, 12):

Tuesday  The Neo-Confucian Moral Philosophy and Social Program

Study Guide:

Today we turn to the Neo-Confucian Movement that began in the eleventh century and had far-reaching impacts in all of East Asia in the following millennium.

  • Let’s start with Zhu Xi’s moral philosophy. Read Zhu Xi’s preface to The Mean, a chapter from a major Confucian canon which received special attention from the Neo-Confucian thinkers. The preface is short, but highly philosophical. Read it carefully and, perhaps, several times. What is the human mind? What is the mind of the Way? Does everyone have two minds?  What is Zhu Xi’s view on the relationship between the mind, Heaven’s principle, and human desires? (To put these questions in a different way–more accessible to a modern audience: What, according to Zhu Xi, are the obstacles preventing us from behaving morally? Does Zhu Xi think we overcome these obstacles?)
  • Now let’s turn to Zhi Xi’s social visions. Read Zhu Xi, “Proposal for Community Granaries” and “The Lü Family Community Compact, Amended and Emended.” Consider: What are Zhu Xi’s visions for the society and the role of government in it? How do they contrast with those of Wang Anshi? What connections can you find between Zhu Xi’s visiosn for the society and his moral philosophy?
  • Read Wang Anshi’s “Memorial on the Crop Loans Measure” and compare, especially, Zhu Xi’s and Wang Anshi’s schemes for granaries. What differences do you see? How would you account for these differences?

Thursday  Networks, Geography, and the Neo-Confucian Movement

Study Guide:

Today we turn to methodology again. Two of these articles apply network analysis to the study of Neo-Confucian Movement. Two of them also combine network and spatial analysis. Consider:

  • How are spatial and network analysis combined in these studies?
  • What aspects of the Neo-Confucian movement does network analysis help address? What aspects of the Neo-Confucian movement does it not?