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Examples of Summarizing the Principal Ideas
Of Your Elective Text

The following examples are adapted from Frank N. Magill, ed. Masterpieces of World Philosophy in Summary Form. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1963, 180 and 185.

Meng Tzu

Author: Mencius (Meng Tzu) (c. 372-c. 289 B.C.)

Type of Works: Ethics

First transcribed: Early third century B.C.

1. Every person is born good; hence, if each person maintains original nature, that person will be uncorrupted.

2. In each persons’ original nature there is a sense of remorse, a sense of etiquette, and a sense of what is right.

3. If a person relies only on sense perceptions without thinking, the person becomes hindered, corrupts original nature, and loses the way in life.

4. If a person allows the ends to justify the means in seeking personal ends, the sense of social obligation and what is right becomes lost.

5. The best ruler is considerate of his subjects and provides both social welfare and moral leadership.

6. Any person who practices the principles of what it is to be human with authenticity radiates the spirit of the universe.

Chuang Tzu

Author: Chuang Chou (Chuang Tzu, c. 370-c. 285 B.C.)

Type of Work: Metaphysics, Ethics

First transcribed: c. 300 B.C.

1. Tao is the way of things, the universal principle of all that is; the excellence or power of each individual is a disclosure of Tao.

2. Drawing distinctions between things in the world or between what is right and what is wrong is a hindrance, once Tao is practiced.

3. The only spiritual way is to identify self with the processes of all being, the Tao.

4. Death is not to be feared because as long as Tao is, we are. Tao is eternal.

5. The authentic person has the unspoiled simplicity of children; that person abstains from intellectual analysis and the study of abstract ideas.



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