Final Examination for World Philosophy II
2020 Fall Semester
You can take 3 hours to complete your essay. Please keep in mind that the quality of your argument is far more important than the length of the paper. More importantly, we should recall that plagiarized essay will be automatically processed as grade F. Your paper should be uploaded no later than December 15, 2020 at 17:00 p.m. at YSCEC.
Write one long essay and two short essays. The long essay will be evaluated by the appropriate standpoint of your argument, the logical structure of the argument, and detailed discussion on the topics concerned. The evaluation of the short essays will be determined by your specific description as to the question raised.
■ Write a long essay based on the questions that follow below. [60 points]
The rule of law has been represented as a Western invention. This prejudice may be abandoned when we reviewed Chinese political classic especially focusing on Mozi and Han Feizi’s philosophies. They tended to prefer the rule of law in their defense for governing the people. On the contrary, Xunzi was a distinguishing philosopher that emphasized the significance of political wisdom obtained by the sages. He argued that political wisdom as a peculiar ability separated from statecrafts of the ruler is an essential factor for the construction of a just society. From this standpoint, Xunzi argued that statecrafts could be used as a way of legitimating political authority over the people. This is the main reason for rejecting the rule of laws that can be easily transformed into the rule by laws. Arbitrary arbitration of political powers or authorities is highly dangerous because it is a potential threat to the will of the people. How may the gap between the rulers and the ruled be narrowed down to guarantee political stability? Can the rule of rituals be a feasible alternative to the rule of law? Keeping main questions in mind, write a long argumentative essay that contains your own perspective. Your argument could be constructed as you please. In this sense, the ordering of the questions is not important. What is crucial is rather the consistency and coherence of your argument. Your answer, nevertheless, should contain all four questions enumerated below.
(1) Mozi argued for impartial caring of the ruler. For the ruler to harmonize society, both caring and being impartial are an essential part of being ruling. What are they? Is impartial caring equivalent to universal love that emphasizes reciprocal equality between the ruling and the ruled? Explain Mozi’s notion of impartial caring as a way of the rule of law.
(2) Rituals play a crucial role in the cultivation of human minds and the establishment of a stable society in Xunzi’s philosophical system. He stresses, nevertheless, a role of the sage played in making a stable society. Explain why and how rituals have mediating roles in human society.
(3) Han Feizi was the first to defend for the rule of law in Chinese history. How can we describe his view? What is its relation to the notion of righteousness? Clarify his position and give your personal evaluation.
(4) What do you think about the rule of law from your personal standpoint? Do you believe that there is a possibility of the rule of laws that has nothing to with the regime of democracy? Make your personal assessment concerning the political ethos or political ideals, which have dominated in the Eastern culture.
■ Write two short essays about the following question. [Each 20 points, total 40 points]
1. Mozi’s philosophy was very pragmatic. It has been criticized that his view offered as to the practical issues was even paradoxical. Consider, for instance, his beliefs in the existence of ghost (chapter 31) and the negation of fatalism. Elucidate how these seemingly paradoxical views are compatible with in Mozi’s line of reasoning.
2. Xunzi and Han Feizi both have a similar view about the state of human nature, even though there is a slight difference between them. What are the differences that make them to be distinguished? Try to illustrate their differences, focusing on Han Feizi’s originality of human nature. For more information on Political Stability see this: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/political-instability-indices
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