Cross-listed with PHIL428C. Credit only granted for PHIL428C or PHPE408C.
Confucius (551-479 BC) and Socrates (c. 470-399 BC) are similar in many ways: They both devoted their lives to thinking about ethics and politics, had numerous disciples and followers, but left us with no writings unquestionably of their own. Despite these similarities, the East Asian Confucian tradition and the Western Socratic tradition turn out to be vastly different from each other regarding their views of human, society, and politics. Understanding the similarities and differences between Confucius and Socrates 2500 years ago helps us understand those between East and West today. To this purpose, we read and discuss the ethical, social, and political thoughts that their respective disciples have attributed to them as well as the thoughts of their opponents.