Our Approach to Eastern Philosophy

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If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, then you might know that Yang and I take a more analytically-inclined approach to eastern and western philosophy. Ideally, what this entails is similar to developing a formula or working through an algorithm, but instead the work is done with propositions (there is no clear cut cardinality and arithmetic…and people think philosophy is easy!). Sometimes, though, time doesn’t allow for fully explaining everything such that the most coherent and strong view is formed or readily apparent, so we think it might suffice to introduce ideas into eastern philosophical discussion. This can be seen with Yang’s post about morality in Taoism.

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The Double-Edged Sword of Eastern Philosophy

 

Words are very inconsistent in what they mean and try to bound the boundless.
Words are very inconsistent in what they mean and try to bound the boundless.

I was trying to pick arguments to analyze for an assignment in my philosophy class. I came up with four or five candidates, three of which were from Zhuangzi and one of which was from the Spring and Autumn Annals. In picking the arguments, I noticed that most of the eastern ones were arguments by analogy and that they employed figurative language. So, when I’m trying to analyze eastern philosophy, those traits often present some problems.

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“The Man of the World” vs “The Worldly Man”

Witty, intellegent, lighthearted, and espescially emotional, Voltaire is a man of the world, a man whom others of the 18th century modeled. Yet on the basis that it's cruel or delusional, he ridiculed the philosophy of Leibniz, which argued that unfortunate things balance and create the best world.
Witty, intelligent, lighthearted, and especially emotional, Voltaire is a man of the world, a man whom others of the 18th century modeled. Yet on the basis that it’s cruel or delusional, he ridiculed the philosophy of Leibniz, which argued that unfortunate things balance and create the best world.

To describe a man who’s the epitome of men, some people use the phrase: a man’s man. This is a compliment just like the phrase: a man of the world.

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