Class #33

Xunzi on Li

Reading:  Burton Watson, trans., Xunzi, pp. 93-123: "A Discussion of Rites," "A Discussion of Music"

Lecture PowerPoint Deck

These two essays rationalize, in various ways, two key Confucian commitments: to li (ritual) and to music. All non-Confucian schools focused their attacks on Confucianism around the seemingly arbitrary ascription of value to ritual forms which characterized Confucians. How does the Xunzi defend the Confucian stand? How does the text find aspects of universal value in the particular rituals which had evolved historically in China? -- Note: Some pages in these essays deal with particulars of ritual and music that are of limited interest to us, and sections describing such details may be skimmed (pp. 108-114 in particular).