EAS307H1: Traditional Chinese Political Philosophy


This course explores and evaluates the views of prominent Chinese thinkers and texts from the classical, medieval, and late imperial periods on central issues in political philosophy, including the justification of political authority, the relation between people and the state, the roles and means of government, and the extent of the state’s power over its subjects. We cover a broad selection of materials from different periods in Chinese history, devoting special attention to the specific form that certain philosophically relevant issues take in Chinese political discourse, such as the role of formal standards versus that of character, the interplay between institutions and ethical discretion, the role of education versus legal coercion, and the advantages of central versus local administration. Readings will include selections from the Documents, Guǎnzǐ, Mòzǐ, Analects, Mèngzǐ, Xúnzǐ, Dàodéjīng, Zhuāngzǐ, Hánfēizǐ, Discourses on Salt and Iron, Jī Kāng, Guō Xiàng, Bào Jìng Yán, Luó Yǐn, Oūyáng Xiū, Chéng Yí, Wáng Ānshí, Chéng Hào, Hú Hóng, Chén Liàng, Fāng Xiàorú, Gù Yánwǔ, Huáng Zōngxī, and Táng Zhēn.

Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)