PHIL 145 Eastern Philosophy • 5 Cr.
Introduces the philosophical traditions of India, China, and Japan. Students explore concepts of value, self, reality, social/political philosophy, aesthetics, and religion in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other traditions.
After completing this class, students should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of key terms (e.g., Mahayana, legalism, utilitarianism, jen, nirvana) from each philosophy.
- demonstrate comprehension of Eastern philosophies (e.g., Vaiseska, Confucianism, Zen) by distinguishing one from the others through reference to distinct character traits, by explaining the positions the philosophies take on specified issues (e.g., the self, politics, God), or by summarizing important passages from the philosophies' texts.
- apply comprehension of Eastern philosophies to contemporary situations. For example, students should be able to explain in an essay how a Confucian parent would respond differently than would a Taoist parent if both were faced with a rebellious child.
- apply comprehension of Eastern philosophies by identifying five to ten unmarked Asian art works as being heavily influenced by Hinduism, Pure Land Buddhism, Zen, Jainism, or Taoism. Students should be able to explain how they came to their judgments.
- analyze the history of Hinduism and Buddhism by breaking down their histories into philosophical traditions, pointing out how one relates to the others. For example, students should be able to identify and distinguish Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism and explain in one page why the latter arose in response to the former. They should be able to do the same for the history of Confucian and Taoist philosophical schools.
- evaluate each philosophy for strengths and weaknesses, appealing to internal consistency and coherence with what we usually take to be true. When Eastern philosophies challenge the latter, students should suggest reasonable ways of resolving the apparent conflict, if possible
- evaluate an argument using Nyaya standards of validity.