Aug 30, 2011

Reflection on Philosophy of the East visavis the West

Every human being is endowed with the ability to "reason". This cognitive act diversifies people's ways of thinking, talking, and perceiving. Because of it, people develop different languages, formulate diverse ideas, and practice a set of culture. The same is true with philosophy, which is separated from different notions, culture and continent. Thus, philosophy of the East and philosophy of the West exist.

These philosophies of the east and the west are brought about by its opposite views, traditions, religions, and beliefs, to name a few. The easterners' way of philosophizing is different from that of the westerners' in the sense that easterners are mystical. They argue that knowledge is infused spiritually, giving emphasis on nature and the deity. On the other hand, westerners are rationalistic in their approach, giving emphasis on the reasoning process through the senses. One school of thought that is well-known in the west is "pragmatism". Pragmatists believe that truth is that which works or produces good result.

Both philosophical ideas of the East and the West are classified into different fields, namely Ethics, Theodicy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Cosmology, Logic, and Psychology. Each has the same fields but different from each other. Like, for instance, in Ethics, in which the West gives emphasis on the individual while the East focuses on the community. For easterners, they believe in a personal God while westerners believe in the impersonal God. Moreover, westerners are more practical to the extent that science for them has a supreme value. On the other hand, easterners are yogic, that is, they based their actions on nature, thus giving emphasis on Nyaya.

There are so many areas wherein both philosophies of the East and the West dissent with each other. However, no matter how different their beliefs and conceptions are, they do not necessarily contradict each other. They seem to contradict though, but if we try to scrutinize both schools of thought and dig deeper into each mindset, we will see that, in reality, they complement each other.

This short piece was written as my reflection paper on the Elements of Filipino Philosophy during my fourth year in college. Dated Jan. 6, 2003.