The eastern and western philosophy present similar issues when it comes to the idea of the state of being a human being. Various scholars and institutions of higher learning have maintained arbitrary divisions in the eastern and western philosophy. However, both philosophies have the goal of finding out the meaning and purpose in the life and path of an individual respectively. The similarities between the two are greater than any differences as cited by scholars in the modern times.
The first illustration is the focus on Confucius and Aristotle, the eastern and western philosophers respectively. The ideas presented by Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, and those by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, are similar and discuss same basic concepts. Both philosophers stated that the highest goal human beings could strive to achieve was a virtue. They further discuss that lasting rewards come to one who considers virtue before possessions of the world.
Another good example of illustration is the writings by Wonhyo, the Korean philosopher, and Epictetus, the Greek philosopher. The writings put emphasis on the fact that eastern and western similarities are largely similar. Wanhyo states that “Thinking makes good and bad.” He implies that if you think something is ‘good’ then it is good for you and vice versa. Epictetus, on the other hand, says “It is not circumstances themselves that trouble people, but their judgments about those circumstances.” These statements are basically similar but only different words used. The eastern and western philosophies are identical to a large extent and the critics only point out the small differences in the specific philosophy and wording.
Another crucial area of comparison for eastern and western philosophy is innate morality. Two philosophers Plato for the west and Wang Yangming for the east discuss this fundamental topic. Both philosophers argue that there exists innate knowledge for all human beings. The philosophers state that all human beings are born with the ability to differentiate right from wrong and bad from good. Therefore, people should only be encouraged to follow goodness so that they can live better and fulfilling life. The similarity in the philosophies is clear since both discuss what is ‘good’ and also the right way of understanding the existence of an individual.
Further illustration of the above philosophies by Plato and Wang points out the similarity. Plato asks the question, “What is good, and what is bad?” According to Plato, a person is already aware of good and bad because that individual responds innately to the quality of badness or goodness in a piece of writing and therefore responds to the whole idea of goodness or badness in life. Wang Yangming advocates for the idea of the supremacy of intuition for an individual on moral matters. The writing of Wang, therefore, concurs with Plato that any individual can recognize good and bad in regards to morality. The two philosophers agree on the matter that a person must know what is good for them to pursue the good. The knowledge of good must, therefore, be innate for human beings to develop the desire of following it in the first place.
From the above illustrations of eastern and western philosophies, it is evident that the fundamental ideas addressed are similar. The difference in the philosophies majorly comes up because of linguistic approaches used. Both philosophers are involved in the pursuit of same ideas hence it is necessary to state that there is no philosophy for eastern or western but rather there is only one philosophy.
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