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C O U R S E 
Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
At Home in Virtue
Notes taken on November 24, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
a disposition to behave in the right way in a particular type of situation
to perceive the situation in the right way
virtues are domain specific
specific Confucius virtues
1. filial piety
the virtual of being a good, obedient child
a suite of actions and emotions that instruct how the child should act in relation to the parent
actions: serving, obeying
emotions: respect, deference
domain: obedience toward parents
2. trustworthiness
domain: relations with friends, professional peers, and superiors, matching of words with actions
become trustworthy and reliable
3. courage
inherited from the Zhou dynasty
more has to do with courage in battle
Confucian understanding is more social courage
unafraid to say the right thing
domain: situations involving risk
proper perception
striking a balance between timidity (not enough courage) and rash (too much courage)
knowing when a situation requires you to do something courageous and when it doesn't
4. Goodness (ren)
very general and hard to understand
the virtue of having all the other virtues in the right proportion
the virtue of being a good human being
also sometimes translated as "humanness" because of the etymology
the general virtue of being a fully realized Confucian gentleman
perfection of harmony of lesser virtues
balanced, using virtues appropriately as to keep them out of conflict
the virtue of when to know when to exercise the other virtues at the right time and in the situation
the complete person
you have all the virtues and you have them where they should be, they are perfectly balanced
when virtues come into concept you know how to balance them in behavior
Confucius is leery of calling anyone ren
how does one get it
the way of the Zhou Dynasty
practice ritual
read the Classics
do music
external vs. internal goods
Alasdair MacIntyre
internal goods
something that is realized only through the practice itself
joy of chess
you can only appreciate through the practice itself
external goods
can be realized in other ways
you want a child to come to like playing chess
you might tempt them by using external goods
eventually the child will appreciate the game for internal reasons
we should be motivated to do the goods for internal purposes not external
not for money
appreciate the meaningfulness of the Confucian way
it's hard to judge if someone is a Confucian gentleman since want counts is if they appreciate the goods internally
intrinsic motivation
you are motivated in the absence of any external reward
out of curiosity
extrinsic motivation
doing it for money
if you give people for doing things, they value it less
can impair your ability to appreciate the internal goods of the practice
you should become intrinsically motivated
the Confucian path to joy (Le)
indicates one has come to appreciate the internal good of Confucian practice
makes you independent of external goods
Analects 7.13
Eating plain food and drinking water, having only your bent arm as a pillow, certainly there is joy to be found in this! Wealth and eminence attained improperly concern me no more than the floating clouds.
Jen We is often displayed as someone who has Le
Civilization and human nature
Freud: Civilization and Its Discontents
Kultur und Sein Unbehagen
Unbehagen: uncomfortable and being creeped out
Freud says nature is horrible
we were never secure, constant fighting
in civilization, we are also never satisfied
we learned to sublimate our desires
when one writes an article critiquing rival's intellectual position
Freud would say what one really wants to do is kill that rival and take his spouse
but you aren't able to do that anymore, so one says something clever and biting at a conference
there is some satisfaction in this but not as much as the original fulfillment of the desire
this is the tragedy: we are always living on this thin soup of sublimated desires
Confucian model:
we are not stuck being Unbehagen all the time
we can learn to be at home
"at peace" (an)
the gentleman is at home in virtue
we can take joy in civilized nature