Is Confucianism synonymous with Chinese culture? While it may be an overstatement to equate the two, there is little doubt that Confucianism pervades every level of Chinese culture and society. To be sure, other traditions such as Daoism and Buddhism have also left an indelible mark; nevertheless, Confucianism remains central to the shaping of the Chinese imagination. The influence of Confucianism extends beyond China to East Asia and through migration and cultural diffusion, other parts of the world. Confucianism traces its origins to the teachings of Confucius. What makes Confucius so special and what did he teach? This course will explore some of the key concepts in Confucian philosophy. Much of the discussion will centre on the Analects of Confucius, the foundational text of Confucian wisdom, although attention will also be given to the subsequent unfolding of the Confucian tradition. We will attempt to situate Confucian philosophy in its own context and to bring out its contemporary significance. Confucianism is a living tradition. Its vitality hinges on not only its continuing relevance in Chinese society but also its contribution to meeting the global challenges confronting the world today. There are no prerequisites for this course, other than a keen interest in Chinese tradition and culture, and the willingness to engage the Analects of Confucius.
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Explorations in Confucian Philosophy – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore