Test On Confucian Moral Self Cultivation


1. This test will be held in class on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. No late or make-tests will be scheduled. There will be no exceptions. The exam will begin at 1:30 PM. If everyone present in the class finishes before 2:45 PM then the exam will be ended when the last person finishes. Do not be late!

2. You will need only one examination blue book and a pencil or blue or black pen. You will be penalized if you do the test using anything other than these materials. Plan ahead. You may also, if you wish, bring one and only one sheet of paper with any information you wish on it for reference during the test. This sheet may NOT contain information that comes from a source other than your textbook, class notes, or study questions. Use of any source other than these on the test will be considered cheating.

3. On the day of the test, please write your name on the outside cover of your blue book. Do not write your name anywhere else on your test. Please also “double-space” your answers, and write only on the front of the pages. (Don’t worry—you will have plenty of space.)

4. Your test answers should be your own work. Any detectable collaboration will be considered cheating. Cheating will not be tolerated. In keeping with Marygrove College’s academic honesty policy, the first instance of cheating will merit a grade of “0” on the test and the notification of the student’s adviser. Repeated offenses will be met with more serious sanctions.

5. This is not a research assignment. You are NOT to use outside sources. Usage of verbatim quotations from the textbook and paraphrasing of the textbook are to be used sparingly and kept under three lines per occurrence. If you must use quotations, know that all verbatim quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks. All such quotations, and any paraphrasing of material from the text, must be followed by an appropriate citation. The following simplified format may be used: ([author’s name], [page number from which the text is taken]). The following is an example of the minimally acceptable citation format:

For a verbatim quotation: “Being enlightened would mean being without existential suffering” (Siderits, p. 27)

For paraphrasing: Enlightenment, according to the author, is a condition of living in which one is free from suffering of an existential sort. (Siderits p. 27)

Failure to cite quoted or paraphrased works properly is plagiarism—the misrepresentation of other’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. In keeping with Marygrove College’s academic honesty policy, the first instance of plagiarism will merit a grade of “0” on the test and the notification of the student’s advisor. Repeated offenses will be met with more serious sanctions. Lecture material does not need to be followed by a citation.

6. Be sure that you address all parts of the question. Be efficient, clear, and thorough in your writing. Keep in mind that this is a test of your understanding of the material, not a solicitation of a manifesto of your own personal philosophy. Stay focused on simply and directly answering the questions.

7. Your answers should be substantive and your points should be supported with evidence (from the text), lecture material and independent argument. All technical philosophical terms (e.g. ‘psychological continuity’, ‘substance’, etc.) should be defined. Charts, graphs, and drawings should not be used. Your answer must be correct and clear. It need not be rhetorically pleasing. That said, basic issues such as grammar, spelling, and structure will all count towards your grade. Clear writing and clear thinking go hand in hand.

8. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at any time. I do not give provisional grades to test answers but I will answer questions about the test insofar as I can without conferring an unfair advantage on anyone.


On the day of the exam the instructor will select three of the following questions using a random procedure. Of the three questions selected by the instructor, students will choose any two and write answers to them. All parts of the question must be accurately and concisely answered using complete, well-formed sentences of English. While your answers will be graded primarily on the quality of what is written, be aware that the questions call for a degree of detail that will not be achievable in merely one or two paragraphs. Each of the two questions will be worth fifty (50) points for a grand total of one hundred (100) points.

Below are the questions. These questions will not be altered in any way prior to the exam. They will occur exactly as they are written here. READ EACH QUESTION VERY CAREFULLY and break it into its composite parts before attempting to answer.

1. Kongzi felt that the learning the ancient rites (li) was an important part of one's moral education. Consider a "rite" from American culture: the College graduation ceremony, where students have their name called and walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. How, according to Kongzi's theory as described in the Ivanhoe text, would such an event provide an opportunity to display one's sense of moral self-cultivation?

2.Imagine Smith, a con-artist and a womanizer. One day Smith is found out by one of his potential victims, and accuses him of being completely immoral. Smith replies (let us assume truthfully), "I grew up in a tough neighborhood. Crime and depravity were all around me. When I got old enough, I just did what came naturally."

What parts of Smith's account would Mengzi agree with? What parts would he disagree with? How would Mengzi's theory of moral self-cultivation explain Smith's coming to be the kind of person he is?

3. On pages 34-35 of your text Ivanhoe compares Xunzi's model of moral self-cultivation to learning how to appreciate literature. Explain the comparison thoroughly. How does it square with Xunzi's criticism that "Mengzi's claim that we all possess an innate moral sense was…a delusion that would have disastrous results."? (Ivanhoe, p.35)

4. Using your own words, explain in detail the "recovery model of moral self-cultivation" that Ivanhoe describes and attributes to Zhu Xi on page 49 of your text. Do not simply copy the words on the page, but explain Zhu Xi's model as you would if you were teaching it to an intelligent but uninformed student.

5. Imagine a person, Jones, who has lived her entire life on a remote mountaintop in a library hermitage. She has virtually no interaction with other people or with mainstream society, but her library contains every book on moral philosophy ever written. Let us imagine that Jones has read every single volume in the library. What would Jones's moral education be missing, according to Wang Yangming, and why?

6. As a moral realist, Dai Zhen makes it central to his program that one must study in order to move from mere opinion (yijian) to truth (and "unchanging standard": buyi zhi ze) in moral maters. Explain why this is important and how it contributes to the account Ivanhoe gives on page 92-3 of Dai Zhen's "realization model" of moral self-cultivation.

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