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The difference between Western and Eastern Philosophy

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Brian .

on 31 May 2014

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Transcript of The difference between Western and Eastern Philosophy

Personally I like Eastern Philosophy more because of its different approach on viewing certain ideas and how you need both sides of an idea in the answer. Both western and eastern philosophy has lots of simliarities too. For exaxmple i have learnt that western extistentialism is similar to Taoism and western Hermeticism is similar to Hinduism.
However, Western Philosophy does look at the ideas more closely giving a more specific answer. Finding answers is what a philosopher does and vague answers from eastern philosophy doesnt provide that. But there are so many bias opinions from philosophersthat trying to stick with answer hurts my brain.
Western Philosophy (Ancient Greeks, Europeans and Americans) usually focused on five catergories.
Metaphysics - the study of existence
Epistemology - the study of knowledge
Ethics - the study of action
Politics - the study of force
Aesthetics - the study of art
Famous Western Philosophers
Conflict vs Harmony
Western philosophy is often drawn to the different individual parts of a whole idea (Politics, Race Relations, Religion, etc), but in the east, emphasis is placed on the whole itself.
An example of this is conflict and harmony, Western philosophy was built on the idea of difference and separation so they will not try and settle for common ground. Some philosophers will use heavy debate to try to convince the audience which opinion is superior. Meanwhile in East they will usually find common group, a perfect example of this is the Ying and Yang. Yin symbolizes feminine, dark, cold, and yielding. Yang symbolises masculine, bright and advancing. These might be seperate ideas in Western Philosophy, buy in the East equal amounts of both ideas are of importance that together create a whole.
Eastern Philosophy
Eastern Philosophy (Mostly China and India) also explored the five main categories, but they didn't really make a distinction between certain catergories.
They didn't really make a distinction on:
Metaphysics and Epistemology
Philosophy and Religion
Famous Eastern Philosophers
The Difference between Western and Eastern Philosophy
Western Philosophy
In western philosophy the philosophers tend to use a lot of logic, reasoning and categorization.
They tend to break down the ideas as much as they could. They also focused on the ideas in parts rather than the whole idea.
Immanuel Kant
Eastern Philosophy
Although Western Philosophy tends to focus on the parts in an idea, the Eastern Philosophers focus to look at an idea as a whole. Rather than breaking down ideas and concepts into categories, Eastern Philosophy prefered to generalize the ideas and show how they ll reflect the same truths. Western philosophy focuses on the finding the differences in ideas, while Eastern philosophy focuses on the similarities.

An example of the last couple slides we will look at Taoism. The Tao Te Ching written by Lao-Tzu contains all five main Western philosophy categories in a small book. You can find passages and verses epistemological, ethical, political and aesthetic natures. But these ideas are not specifically denfined, but rather they are revealed.
Lao- Tzu
By Brian Yan 10C
Comparative Philosophy [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]. 2014. Comparative Philosophy [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/comparat/. [Accessed 10 May 2014].
4: Classical Eastern Philosophy. 2014. 4: Classical Eastern Philosophy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/110/4-eastern.htm. [Accessed 10 May 2014].
Classics of Western Philosophy. 2014. Classics of Western Philosophy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/philclassics.html. [Accessed 10 May 2014].
Individualism & Collectivism
Individualism is highly praised in the west but a lot of people get better the borderline of individualism and conformity. Mostly in the west, there is a great amount of importance on being your own person and deciding things for yourself.
Meanwhile in the east collectivism and connected is more apparent. The ideas such as social obligation to moral righteousness. Things like helping people and respecting other is a great reflect on Confucian and Taoist ideals. Taken from the Son of Heaven text "...obligations to serve the ruler, obligations to work for the family, obligations to obey elders, obligations to help relatives, obligations to do well to glorify the name of ancestors, obligations to defend the country in times of trouble, and obligations to oneself to cultivate one's own virtue. But the western idea of individualism got out of hand in the past, but the eastern idea of collectivism has in the past became damaging. Communist leaders have attacked people from Cambodia to Korea.

Fragmentary vs. Holistic
In western philosophy, people like to emphasize important parts in an issue rather than the look at the issue as a whole. They see things like the brain and body as separate identities, rather than viewing the two parts as equal. The mentality has now been passed on into politics an even religion. In eastern philosophy people like to look at issues at a whole scale. That is why the Chinese and Indian philosophers’ never really had a different between religion and philosophy. Their teachings are not meant to take you to separate truths but the parts would eventually lead to one truth.
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