Calling All Taoists
I’m in the middle of getting my syllabus organized for my Chinese Philosophy course. I’m trying something new this time. Typically, I just have students read each book from cover to cover, and we try as a class to undergo the messy business of constructing the text’s meaning as we move from chapter to chapter (messy but fun!). This time I’m going to try a thematic approach, just to see how it works. So, in the Analects, perhaps one day we’ll read a collection of aphorisms on ren, and another day we’ll do the same for xiao (and so on for other key concepts).
Now, I have a firm grasp of what passages link up with what themes within the Confucian authors, but I’m less skilled at this for Taoism. So I need the help of the Taoists lurkers. See below:
For the Tao Te Ching, I’m thinking of these themes (a day each):
Tao (the way)
Yin-Yang (opposition pairs)
Pu (simplicity/uncarved wood)
Government and Society
Does any of you have any clear thoughts about chapter numbers that must be mentioned under these headings? For example, it’s obvious that chapter 60 (the small fish and all) goes under the “government and society” section, and chapter 1 goes under “Tao”. I have a lot of chapter numbers already pencilled into these categories, but I’m curious what chapters strike you as obvious or central, so I make sure I don’t leave one out inadvertently.
Of course, if you think there’s a theme I don’t have above that it would a crime to leave out, let me know!
If any of you have the time or the inclination, I’d appreciate any thoughts you might have.