Instructor: Min Tang. This course meets MWF 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. in BI 101.
What is real? What happens after death? What is a good life? What is the relationship between the individual and society? What is the relationship between spirit and nature? What are the nature and the structure of the self? What is evil?
This course will provide a broad overview of Asian philosophies. In the first part of the course, we will focus on the development of South Asian philosophies, beginning in ancient India with the origins of Hinduism through reading selections from the Rig Veda and the Upanishads. We will then turn our attention to the critical reaction against Upanishadic philosophy in both Jainism and Buddhism. We will read selections from an important Jain sutra as well as selections from the Buddhist Pali Canon.
In the second part of the course, we will focus on the development of East Asian Philosophies. We start with the development of the classical Chinese philosophies of Confucianism and Daoism. We will read selections from the Analects of Confucius as well as from the later Confucian classics—the Mengzi and the Xunzi. We will then turn to Daoism, reading selections from the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi. We then turn to the development of Buddhism in China and Japan.
In the third part of the course, we will focus on two special topics, the nature of the self and the problem of evil. We will dive into some of the aforementioned texts and see how Asian philosophers engage with these two topics specifically.
The course presupposes no background in philosophy or any Asian languages, but students should be prepared to read charitably and think critically. This course will provide students a great opportunity to engage with some of the most significant and enduring contributions to the non-Western intellectual tradition while improving their writing and reasoning skills.