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Issues in Non-Western ways of thinking

Click to edit Master subtitle style 4/21/12

Non-Western Thought

Emphasis is on lived wisdom rather than purely theoretical preoccupations Cannot be removed from life Necessarily connected to culture, with its basic worldview and ways of understanding ones self and the world Very ancient beginnings. Set in the ancient sacred texts

Thus, the necessity of reading the classic texts. All modern writings always refer back to these texts. Major traditions: Indian and Chinese Other non-Western ways of thinking: all other non-Western cultures, e.g., Native American, Filipino, Maori, etc. Because of the prevailing mythical consciousness of the ancient past, these traditions tend to be closer to spiritual and 4/21/12 religious concerns

East vs West
Some points to remember:

All characterizations of the worldviews are general descriptions only. They are not meant as absolute binary oppositions. Comparisons are made to assist understanding of the differences in perspectives but no absolute standard is recognized. Thus, all value-judgments must be avoided, even though certain thinking tendencies 4/21/12 explain current events as their consequences



EAST Religion and Philosophy Cyclic way of thinking Intuition/Feeling Communal Holistic Nature oriented Traditional

WEST Religion vs Philosophy Linear way of thinking Reason/Logic/definitio n Individual Fragmented Science-oriented Innovative


Philosophy vs Religion


Cyclic vs Linear


Intuition vs Reason/Nature vs Science


Communal vs Individual


Holistic vs Fragmented



Some problems in Western philosophy are not considered problems in the East, for instance, the existence of a higher being and its attributes, epistemological illusions, metaphysical origins, proof of existence There is always emphasis on the ideas applicability to actual life. Best methodology employed, therefore, is phenomenology and existential reflection as used in philosophical anthropology. In relation to Western thought, comparative studies yield 4/21/12 interesting results.

Philosophical Anthropology

When the goal is to unify or universalize on human behavior, considering the social environment and attributing autonomy to the person in terms of creating his or her own values Methodical reflection on human experience and the human condition Theorizing on human nature: asks the questions what is a human being? Who am I? How do I relate to others?
4/21/12 Employment of a multi-disciplinary approach

Comparative Philosophy

The philosophical study of one or some problems in the light of more than one tradition--Panikkar Ways of doing comparative philosophy: transcendental philosophy, formal or structural philosophy, linguistic philosophy, phenomenological philosophy, dialogical or imparative philosophy.


Comparative Philosophy

On dialogical philosophy: This enterprise is only possible in dialogue with other philosophical views. It should further cultivate an attitude of learning from all of them. In medieval Latin, this process was called imparare[stressing] an open philosophical attitude ready to learn from whatever philosophical corner of the world, but without claiming to compare philosophies from an objective, neutral, and transcendent vantage point. -Panikkar

Possible Issues

Is there Eastern philosophy? Description and claims on Eastern counterparts to traditional branches of philosophy and the corresponding issues under each one. Comparative approaches, either in terms of traditions, e.g., existentialism and Zen; or in traditions, e.g., Eastern epistemology and Western Epistemology. It could also be a comparison of the ideas of individual philosophers, e.g., Nietzsche and the Buddha, 4/21/12 Socrates and Confucius, Kant and Shankara,

Philosophy of religion Philosophy of culture Philosophy of science Philosophy of art Philosophy of the person, especially in terms of interpersonal relationships Philosophy of literature Environmental ethics


Create a conceptual map, detailing the description, arguments and conclusion in the two readings given Find analogous articles in the Western tradition and show how they differ in approach and conclusion List possible topics in the non-Western traditions that interest you Write down questions that you think are worth pursuing