Languages & Cultures of East Asia

Trad 101, Sections 18-19-20-21   Fall 2000

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Lecture Outline, 9/18/00 - Confucianism and reticence


Who is Confucius?

     550 B. C. - 479 B. C.

     "The greatest teacher"

     had many followers

     held many political offices

     occupied with ritual behavior and preservation of traditions

Central text of Confucianism is "The Analects"

     200-300 A. D.

     written by disciples of disciples of Confucius

     dialogues between Confucius and his students

     1)    To instruct people in self cultivation
     2)    To persuade people into political action

The Jesuit Confucius
     mid-16th century

     Latinized name
         K'ung Fu-tzu to Confucius

Confucian Virtues

     1. Humaneness
     2. Filial piety
     3. Wisdom/knowledge
     4. Propriety/ritual
     5. Sincerity

Confucian relationships

     elder brother-younger brother

Underlying principles:
     a. hierarchy
     b. reciprocity

"Li"= ritual
     a codified set of rules of social behavior

     how to do things properly
     basis for all conduct

Ideal for society: Harmony

Reticence: "inclined to keep silent or uncommunicative"

Cross-cultural study
a.    the amount of reticent behavior
b.    the interpretation of reticence
c.    cultural differences

a. amount of reticence
Asians: formal, polite, reserved

Americans: informal, spontaneous, talkative, expressive

Lunch with professor
     Korean lunch: quiet, unassertive, obedient
     American lunch: talkative, talked about family, chatted

b. interpretation of reticence
US: a sign of non-normal behavior
       perceived unfavorably by others

     Communication apprehension:
       anxiety associated with communication with another person

Korea: no such view