A Comparison between Eastern and Western Philosophy

Have you considered the question—“Is the world round us knowable?” For most Westerners, the answer is constructive. But should you ask a Chinese the same query, you’d get the reply like: “I don’t know.” or “Does it matter?” The cause behind it’s the difference between Eastern and Western philosophy. A number of philosophy schools around the world have contemplated these sorts of philosophical issues for 1000’s years and a few of them are highly consultant (like Confucianism for Eastern and Platonism for Western).

Though they’re confronted with the same questions, the focal factors are often totally different from each other, which is attributable to the disparity of their opinions towards the significance of philosophical issues. Western philosophy can be divided into Ancient Greek philosophy, medieval philosophy, fashionable philosophy and contemporary philosophy, whereas Eastern philosophy includes Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy, Japanese philosophy and so on. There is little question that the similarities between them are apparent, yet the primary focus of Eastern philosophy is in society whereas Western’s is in universe.

Because the understanding from a single aspect is always partial, the purpose of this paper is for instance the main variations between the focus and methodology of Eastern and Western philosophy traditions and explain the attainable causes behind it. When it involves philosophy, Eastern philosophers take a person inside world as starting point and put the rules of social life on the first place while Westerners will speculate on it from a universal perspective and take a look at to determine the principles behind the world.

As Fung (1984) states that from a philosophical perspective, the very best achievement a man could realize is to be a sage and the day by day task of coping with social affairs in human relations is a part of the process of being a sage. However, for Western philosophers, they’re inclined to put the origin of all things in the universe at first place, and then analyze how the world works. As Windelband (1956) illustrates, the history of Western philosophy is “an insight into the origin of European science in general”, which exhibits the reason behind Western philosophers’ choice.

This distinction additionally seems in Eastern and Western philosophy’s attitudes toward politics. In the traditional period, both Eastern and Western philosophers played the function of policy maker. Dong Zhongshu, who is among the most profitable Confucian in political space in Chinese historical past (as his theories had been taken as the general embodiment of the coverage of running the country), put forward the “Three cardinal guides (ruler guides topic, father guides son and husband guides wife)” and “Five fixed virtues (benevolence righteousness, propriety, wisdom and fidelity)” to assist emperor Wu to strengthen his domination (Queen, 1996). All of those ideas are highly related to social life since Dong believes the core of philosophy is humanity and the society must be ordered by regulating people’s social life. Similarly, Plato, who’s a representative determine of historic Greek philosophy, additionally supplied his political views, which is extremely associated to his theory of types. As for Plato, the construction of a state is similar to a human physique. The workers characterize the stomach; the warriors characterize the chest and the thinker kings symbolize the head, that are comparable to productive, protecting and governing respectively (Gaarder, 1996).

It is noticeable to level out that whereas the Confucians’ political view relies on human nature since they take particular person citizen as the basic unit of society, Platonism tries to analyze the construction of a state from a basic perspective, which is give attention to a common perspective. The distinction between the methodology of Eastern and Western philosophy can also be a giant concern. As Spirkin concluded that “Methodology is a system of principles and common methods of organizing and structuring theoretical and sensible exercise, and likewise the idea of this technique.” Nonetheless, there is no idea like methodology that seems in most Eastern philosophy classics. There are well-known Chinese philosophical classics just like the Analects of Confucius and Tao Te Ching, which are not monumental masterpieces but categorical their concepts via a philosopher’s sayings and behaviors. Does that mean there is not a methodology in Eastern philosophy? The fact is the methodology of Eastern and Western philosophy is extraordinarily different from each other and we can not use the definition of Western philosophy to judge Eastern philosophy.

As Easterners do not have a system of rules and strategies to solve issues, they take the ideas of social life as methodology, which may be summarized as doctrine of the mean. In contras, Western philosophy has a set of theories of reasoning (like syllogism and deductive reasoning), which may type people’s decisive mind behavior. As Hamilton and Webster (2009) states in their book about culture difference “Difference in approach can even be seen in negotiations.иWesterners anticipate to focus on contentious points and try to achieve the most helpful outcomes for themselves. In distinction, the Japanese prefer to debate areas of settlement, with the expectation that concord will lead to the resolution of particulars.” In other phrases, because of placing excessive value on social relationship, the methodology of Eastern philosophy comes from predecessors’ experiences and folks chronically take other’s feeling into consideration, whereas Westerners normally take themselves as starting factors, advocate unbiased and rational ideas as well. For another instance, both Eastern and Western world had skilled lots of reforms, however the leader of the reform would take completely completely different approaches.

During the interval of hundred day’s reform, which happened in China in 1898, Kang YouWei, who’s the chief of this reform, unfold his ideas of reform by annotating Confucius classics (Karl and Zarrow, 2002). Likewise, there’s also a famous reform that happened in France in 1800s—the Age of enlightenment. The leaders of this reform arrange their own theories of society and pointed their arrows towards feudal class instantly (Dora, 1979), which is extraordinarily completely different from Kang’s approach. One of the greatest reasons for the difference between Eastern and Western philosophy is geography. As Windelband (1956) notes, the historical past of the philosophy of the Greeks, like the history of their political growth, requires a bigger conception of its political relations would indicate. This shows that geography performs a significantly necessary function within the development of philosophy. Generally speaking, the 2 main sources of Eastern philosophy—China and India—are agriculture nations. “There are two expressions within the Chinese language which can each be translated as the world. One is ‘all beneath the sky’ and the other is ‘all inside the four seas’.” (Fung, 1948).

As agriculture activities are regular and predicable, Easterners prefer to imagine previous expertise rather than abstract principles. That’s why the sayings and behaviors of a sage can be one of the best philosophy lesson for Easterners—because they’re particular and comprehendible. And but, Western nations are very close to ocean. As Windelband (1956) cites homer “The pure hyperlink of the three nice continents was this sea, with its islands and coasts occupied by probably the most gifted of people, which from the earliest historic occasions had settled all its coasts.” As a end result, most Western international locations are highly commercialized and industrialized. Innovation and breakthrough are all the time significantly required, which implies solely the theories based on logic and reasoning can be valued. As Confucius as soon as mentioned, “The clever transfer; the nice keep nonetheless. The sensible are joyful; the great endure” (Confucius and James, 2010). Though it is not his authentic that means, this saying reveals the difference between the character of the traditional Chinese and Greeks from a geographical perspective.

Let’s transfer back to the query at the beginning—“Is the world around us knowable?” The completely different solutions towards it imply the actual causes behind the variations between Eastern and Western philosophy and that’s the methods they look the world. While Easterners pay consideration to the stability of the inside world, Westerners try to conquer the skin world. This is why Westerners will say “Yes” to this question because they have achieved plenty of accomplishments in discovering the secrets of the world already. But for most Easterners they pay more consideration to their day by day life and relationships with others, which make them can’t reply to this question with a certain answer. Both the differences of emphasis and methodology could be explained from this attitude. To an excellent extent, geographical factors contributed enormously to this course of and typically make the gap develop. Eastern and Western philosophy need to be taught from each other, as it’s the only way to acknowledge the advantages and downsides of themselves. We all have a belief that he completely different philosophy will soften with one another quite than towards in the future.

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