Class #3

Historical Background

   1. "General Introduction to Early China"
   2. "The Historical Background of Chinese Thought"

Lecture PowerPoint Deck

Having prepared some ground by looking at one corner of early Greek thought, and constructing from it a rough model of some basic features of a philosophical enterprise that we will treat as representative of Western mainstream traditions, we now turn to the Chinese case, able to highlight certain features of the rise of systematic, critical thinking about the natural and human worlds in China as contrastive with the Western model we have sketched.

Your readings for Friday's class are not designed to provide you either with an accurate overview of traditional Chinese culture, taken as a whole, or with a balanced description of all major aspects of the historical development of China prior to the rise of philosophical thought.  The two readings are designed to lay groundwork for key concepts that will be central to our discussions of early Chinese thought.