October 10

Monday, October 10, 2022

Mengzi and Meso-Level Philosophy

Mengzi (Master Meng) is one of the greatest early Confucian thinkers, famous both for advocating that the people’s well-being is the most important political goal, and for his argument that our individual natures have a built-in tendency toward goodness. In this class we will explore the way that Mengzi sought to teach his theoretical ideas through engagement with political leaders of his day. This kind of philosophical practice lies in between (and connects up) the micro-level of analysis (about individual selves) and the macro-level of analysis (about the cosmos and reality itself); we will refer to this in-between practice as “meso-level philosophy.”

Before Class

  • If you have no background knowledge of early China, watch the first 11:47 of the above video
  • Try sketching out the argument in Mengzi 1A1. What is the main conclusion? What premises lead to this conclusion? You do not need to turn this in prior to class.

After Class