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Western philosophy vs eastern philosophy

I have a good chat with an old friend tonight.  I told him I was taking philosophy.  He said he is quite interest in eastern, especially Chinese, philosophy too.  We talked about the difference between western and eastern philosophy.  Both philosophy originated around the same period, 2500 years ago.  The two most famous scholars are Plato in Greek and Confucius in China.  Both of their teaching comes lots of things and enlightened later generation.  However the development of the two philosophy is very difference since then.  Eastern philosophy seems got frozen in time without getting much further development, we are still reading the same ancient books people read thousand years ago.  On the other than western philosophy has fully developed into a system covers almost everything knowledge man had ever known.  I think one the of key difference is that in western philosophy, philosophers are like scientist, their work is to discover the ultimate truth.  People respect the great philosophers, they learn from their works but they don’t take the works for granted.  In eastern philosophy, people regards the philosophers as the absolute standard.  Instead of trying to make improvement and discover more truth, they focus on figuring out what did Confucius really said in his books.  No one even bother to challenge whether the content of Confucians teaching is applicable.  It is important to understand the teaching of the great philosopher, not only that we want to learn from them, it is more important that we want to surpass them.  A forward looking culture brings progression and strive for greatness.  A backward looking culture always points to a golden standard in the past can only be deteriorated and slowly rotted away.

2 comments to Western philosophy vs eastern philosophy

  • well, I found that disappointing. Eastern philo. is something you live, and
    discover its truth. West. philo. is an intellectual construct, it is not lived for the most part (ex.stoicism,etc.) and we have not have not truly surpassed them; but have come to an impass of negations.
    In the West we knit-pick; in the East they practice. One leads to further argument the other to harmony outside of argument. Thanks.

    • I think we should distinguish between pure philosophy and applied philosophy, like pure science and applied science (aka engineering) The Eastern philosophy is mainly focus on the application part, but have a very weak fundamental. The Western philosophy focus on the fundamental and let people figuring out application on their own. The best of both world would be using the Western philosophy as the core and apply through Eastern way.

      Harmony is not necessary a good thing, sometimes it is just dressed up word for group think, tunnel vision or silencing the “heretics”.

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