philosophy

For Prompt Paper 2 I want you to take a stand on the debate that occupied most of the discussion of Confucianism: that of the inherent goodness or evilness of human nature. As mentioned in the readings and lecture videos, The Analects makes it ambiguous which side of the debate Confucius himself fell on; and he may have very well remained in a middle position. In making your argument, regardless of which side of the debate you argue for, you must address the following:
● At least one reason in favor of the ‘inherently good’ view
● At least one counterargument or shortcoming of the ‘inherently good’ view
● At least one reason in favor of the ‘inherently evil’ view
● At least one counterargument or shortcoming of the ‘inherently evil’ view
This ensures that you aren’t just parroting one of Mencius’ or Hsun-tzu’s views, and are actually working through these arguments yourself and identifying the merits of each side. However, this isn’t to exclude you from using Mencius and Hsun-tzu as sources to influence your decision — you should definitely consult these two, as they have interesting arguments for their respective sides. I recommend using examples from your own life to bolster your argument, however this is by no means required.

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