Florida Atlantic University Aristotle/Confucius Discussion Hi again! Please see the attached files and answer the four questions :) Summary Questions — Ari

Florida Atlantic University Aristotle/Confucius Discussion Hi again! Please see the attached files and answer the four questions 🙂 Summary Questions — Aristotle, Confucius
Answer each question in 8-12 sentences
1. How does Aristotle describe the relation between virtue and pleasure? Give and explain one
direct quote from the reading as part of your response.
2. Think of a famous person (politician, celebrity, athlete, etc.). Describe one recommendation
from Aristotle’s account of virtue and explain in detail whether or not this person follows
Aristotles advice. Include a direct quote from Aristotle as part of your answer.
3. Think of the same famous person. Describe one recommendation from Confucius’ account of
virtue and explain in detail whether or not this person follows Confucius’ advice. Include a direct
quote from Confucius as part of your answer.
4. In Nicomachean Ethics, book II, section 1, Aristotle stresses the importance of being trained in
virtue from a young age. Confucius also touches on the value of habituation in virtue over time.
Give a quote from Aristotle or Confucius on this theme, and explain whether you agree or
disagree with the quote, and why.
Some topics you might consider include: Why is it important to train children in virtue? What
are the best ways to do this? How, if at all, can people acquire virtues later in life if they got off
to a bad start? And, how is our society doing in imparting virtue to children and teenagers?
Quote as followed: As Aristotle states in book II, section 1 of the Nicomachean Ethics, “legislators make
the citizens good by forming habits in them”
– Do not use dates or page or paragraph numbers as both these works are “major classical
works”
Selections from The Analects by Confucius1
Part 1
…The philosopher Yu said, “In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be prized. In
the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in things small and
great we follow them.”
“Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized,
manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be done.”…
The Master said, “He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek to
gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he is earnest
in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of men of principle
that he may be rectified:-such a person may be said indeed to love to learn.”
Tsze-kung said, “What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not flatter,
and the rich man who is not proud?” The Master replied, “They will do; but they are not equal
to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules of
propriety.”…
Part 2
…The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by
punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame.
“If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they
will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”
The Master said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I
had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ
for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without
transgressing what was right.”…
1
This text is taken from the Internet Classics Archive with copyright held by Daniel C. Stevenson, Web Atomics. Full
copyright and permissions information is available at http://classics.mit.edu/Help/permissions.html. It is
permissible to copy and distribute this for noncommercial educational purposes. The full text of The Analects can
be found at http://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/analects.html. Ellipses (…) have been added to this document to
indicate omitted text and punctuation has been edited in a few places to make things clearer.
Tsze-yu asked what filial piety was. The Master said, “The filial piety nowadays means the
support of one’s parents. But dogs and horses likewise are able to do something in the way of
support;-without reverence, what is there to distinguish the one support given from the
other?”…
The Master said, “See what a man does. Mark his motives. Examine in what things he rests.
How can a man conceal his character? How can a man conceal his character?”…
Part 4
…The Master said, “Those who are without virtue cannot abide long either in a condition of
poverty and hardship, or in a condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise
desire virtue.”…
“The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In
moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it.”…
The Master said, “The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The
superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may
receive.”
The Master said: “He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much
murmured against.”…
The Master said, “A man should say, I am not concerned that I have no place, I am concerned
how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be
known.”
The Master said, “Shan, my doctrine is that of an all-pervading unity.” The disciple Tsang
replied, “Yes.”
The Master went out, and the other disciples asked, saying, “What do his words mean?” Tsang
said, “The doctrine of our master is to be true to the principles-of our nature and the
benevolent exercise of them to others,-this and nothing more.”
The Master said, “The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of
the mean man is conversant with gain.”
The Master said, “When we see men of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see
men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”
The Master said, “In serving his parents, a son may remonstrate with them, but gently; when he
sees that they do not incline to follow his advice, he shows an increased degree of reverence,
but does not abandon his purpose; and should they punish him, he does not allow himself to
murmur.”
The Master said, “While his parents are alive, the son may not go abroad to a distance. If he
does go abroad, he must have a fixed place to which he goes.”
The Master said, “If the son for three years does not alter from the way of his father, he may be
called filial.”…
The Master said, “The reason why the ancients did not readily give utterance to their words,
was that they feared lest their actions should not come up to them.”…
The Master said, “Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”…
Part 5
…Tsai Yu being asleep during the daytime, the Master said, “Rotten wood cannot be carved; a
wall of dirty earth will not receive the trowel. This Yu,-what is the use of my reproving him?”
The Master said, “At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for
their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I
have learned to make this change.”…
When Tsze-lu heard anything, if he had not yet succeeded in carrying it into practice, he was
only afraid lest he should hear something else…
The Master said of Tsze-ch’an that he had four of the characteristics of a superior man-in his
conduct of himself, he was humble; in serving his superior, he was respectful; in nourishing the
people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he was just…
Main Ideas in Confucius
Background for Confucius
Confucius was an ancient Chinese philosopher, who lived a century or so before
Aristotle, from 551 to 479 BCE. Virtue was also a major theme of Confucius’ thought. It
is interesting to observe, then, the similarities between his views and the views of
Aristotle, as well as to consider how Confucius’ perspective might further inform our
own ideas about virtue.
Background on The Analects
The Analects is a collection of sayings traditionally attributed to Confucius, and most
likely committed to writing by his followers after his death.
A number of characters with different names appear in the text you will be reading, but
we do not need to keep track of these characters for our purposes. All of the characters
are either describing aspects of Confucius’ philosophy, or else taking part in interactions
meant to illustrate his views.
Major themes in The Analects
From the reading, we can see that Confucius, like Aristotle, believes in the importance
of moral training, acting from virtue consistently, and learning to take pleasure in right
actions.
A quotation from part 1 of the reading, that illustrates these themes, is the following:
“The Master said, ‘At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood
firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of heaven. At sixty, my
ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow
what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.’”
This quotation shows the value of training in virtue from a young age, and of habitually
acting in an ethical way.
It is also interesting to note how the master, presumably Confucius, talks about life at
age seventy. At this point, he could follow whatever his heart desired without doing
wrong. This seems to suggest that he has become fully virtuous, to the extent that he
takes pleasure only in right actions. Accordingly, he can do whatever he wants, while
remaining confident that it is also morally right.
There are a number of other themes and connections to the topic of virtue in the
assigned reading, so I will let you take a look at those on your own, as you work through
the reading and work for this module.

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