PHL 287 Happiness in Zhuangzis Daoism and Human Life Question
- How do I start?
The first step of writing a good philosophy paper is to narrow down on a thesis/topic. A
good way to think about this can be think about a list of questions you would like to figure out
based on what we have learnt. For example:
What is entailed in the concept of “ren” in the Analects?
How does Mengzi’s theory of sprouts work?
In what ways Mengzi’s Confucianism differentiate itself from Confucius’ Confucianism and
in what ways it inherits from it?
How should I interpret the first chapter (or any chapter) of Dao De Jing?
Why does Dao De Jing state that benevolence and righteousness harm people instead of
What is the role of fables, allegories, and metaphors in Zhuangzi?
How do interpret the “three in the morning” (or any story) in Zhuangzi?
2. After you have decided on a topic, select relevant passages from the text or texts. If you
would like to write about “ren” in the Analects, find the passages in which Confucius
discusses “ren” and these passages should serve as the base of your paper.
3. Dig into the selected passages, and formulize a reading. For example, reading selected
passages in book 4, 12, etc, I realize that I would like to argue that the concept of “ren”
entails both the aspects of humanity and relatedness.
4. Use the passages as the textual evidence to support the points you would like to make.
This is where you need to do “examination” and “analysis”. For example: 4.1 reads “to
live in the neighborhood of the Good is fine (beautiful)”. This suggests that goodness
(ren) attracts, like magnets, and this implies that being good is not some merely internal
and inward quality, but that which requires relations/connections with other people in