Unit 3 Discussion: Confucian Ideas


Are Confucius’s ideas still relevant? In order to answer this question, we must first try to understand what those ideas were. But prior to looking at some introductory materials, do note that Confucianism has been seeing something of a revival in China over the last couple of decades. For instance, take a look at this report:


here for a text transcript)

Initial Post Instructions:

your discussion, first view a video about Confucius put together by Dr. Bryan W. Van Norden, a professor of Chinese Philosophy. Following, review the “Selections from the Confucian Analects:

Filial Piety and Humaneness” you have already read, as well as the additional selection here.

Throughout China’s imperial era, Confucius was often cited by scholar-officials as support for their arguments – regarding, for instance, how a person should handle a problem with a personal relationship or what kind of policies the emperor should adopt. For your discussion, select at least three passages from Confucius, explain what you think they mean, why Confucius was propounding these ideas in his own time, and explain why they might still be relevant today. If you don’t think any are relevant, then choose three and explain why they aren’t relevant.

Required materials:

Selection from the Confucian Analects: On Confucius as a Teacher and Person (click to open in a new tab)

Selections from the Confucian Analects: “On Filial Piety and Humaneness” (click to open in a new tab)


Please use our primary source documents for Confucius. Although many websites contain good translations of the Analects, others will misguide you into believing Confucius said things he didn’t.