Assignment #1: short essay (750 words minimum)

ASSIGNMENT #1: Short essay (750 words minimum)

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Assignment #1: short essay (750 words minimum)
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This is a response paper, not a research paper.  DO NOT USE ANY SOURCES OTHER THAN THOSE ASSIGNED FOR THE COURSE.  I will not accept your paper if you do.


You may quote from the assigned readings if you wish.  It is not required.  If you do, please cite by author, title, page number only.


Focusing closely on the following quotations, please describe the advantages and disadvantages of any ONE of the following positions for the individual, the family, and the state.  (Ultimately this means comparing and analyzing all three, but you can be brief about the other two.)  The first is from a Confucian text, the second from a Daoist text, the third from a Legalist text. To understand them in context, please re-read the assigned readings in Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, especially the selections from which these quotations are drawn. (17-37). 

Confucius said: Lead the people by laws and regulate them by penalties, and the people will try to keep out of jail, but will have no sense of shame.  Lead the people by virtue and restrain them by the rules of decorum, and the people will have a sense of shame, and moreover will become good. 

—-from the Analects, II:3.

The Dao is without beginning and without end.  Things are born and die, without holding to any permanence.  They are now empty, now full, without maintaining a constant form.  The years cannot be made to abide; time cannot be arrested.  Processes of increase and decrease are in operation and every end is followed by a new beginning.   Thus may we speak of the great norm of the Dao and the principle pervading all things.

–from Zhuangzi, Chapter 3: Fundamentals for the Cultivation of Life

So while the love of parents is not sufficient to discipline the children, the severe penalties of the district magistrate are.  This is because men became naturally spoiled by love but are submissive to authority… .That being so, rewards should be rich and certain so that the people will be attracted by them; punishments should be severe and definite so that the people will fear them; and laws should be uniform and steadfast so that the people will be familiar with them.  Consequently, the sovereign should show no wavering in bestowing rewards and grant no pardon in administering punishments, and he should add honor to rewards and disgrace to punishments.  When this is done, then both the worthy and the unworthy will want to exert themselves.

——from Han Feizi, Chapter 49

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