7 Answers

  1. In the modern humanities, there is generally a wary attitude towards projecting Western categories onto non-Western cultures. And this applies not only to philosophy, but also, for example, religion. However, I will immediately make a reservation that in my answer I exclude the Middle East from consideration, since from a historical and philosophical point of view it is at least from the time of Alexander's campaigns much closer to Europe than to India or China (for example, medieval Arabic philosophy is unthinkable without reflection on the ancient heritage, and one of its most important centers was Spain, which

    So, the fact is that in Western culture, all this, eventually, took shape in specialized spheres of activity, and, although this did not happen immediately, already in antiquity we can see the contours of this division. Yes, we can say that Plato's ideas, especially in the neo-Platonic interpretation, have a pronounced religious character. But Socrates and Plato did not become objects of religious worship like Buddha or Confucius. No temples are built in their honor, no offerings are made to them, and no annual ceremonies are held. And, most importantly, their words are not perceived as a revelation that you just need to follow.

    It doesn't work that way in Eastern cultures. The border between religion, philosophy and science did not exist there, in general, until about as long as Westernization began in these regions and they did not collide with the corresponding European categories. Before that, it was all more like one big category, which can be roughly translated as “scholarship”. Jason Josephson Storm, for example, writes at the very beginning of the monograph “The Invention of Religion in Japan” that Japanese intellectuals first thought about the fact that there is such a thing as “religion” only after the American navy forced the Japanese authorities to accept a number of obligations in the 1850s, among which was freedom of religion. It was then that the Japanese had to think about what they had written in the documents they had signed.

    It is exactly the same with “philosophy”. Of course, Eastern peoples were familiar with philosophy, including European ones – at least in northern India, because Alexander's troops reached it and Hellenistic states later existed there, where there was an exchange between Hellenistic and Indian cultures. There is no doubt that Eastern cultures had their own intellectual traditions and authors who dealt with quite philosophical issues – for example, logic (much has been written, in particular, about Indian logic) or socio-political philosophy (for example, legalism in China).

    And yet, we can only call it “philosophy” if we, as external observers, operate with the categories of Western culture and use them as an analytical tool. At the same time, the main thing is not to think that in these cultures themselves these categories functioned in the same way as in Modern Europe. If we draw an analogy, when we look at water from the point of view of knowledge of chemistry, we understand that the water molecule is based on oxygen and hydrogen. However, there is a big difference between a water bottle and a bottle that contains a mixture of these two gases.

    The question of the philosophical method stands apart. Philosophy is not a factory of aphorisms. This is, first of all, a culture of critical thinking and argumentation. But when I open, say, Conversations and Judgments, which is often called an example of Eastern philosophy, I don't see it as argumentative. I see a collection of aphorisms. At the same time, I do not detract from its significance in any way. This collection contains a lot of good and interesting thoughts, it is the most important literary monument, which is useful to study. Just methodologically, this does not correspond in any way to the culture of reasoned discussion of worldview problems, which we actually call philosophy. This becomes obvious when you compare it with medieval scholasticism. The latter is quite religious, but at the same time it has a very developed culture of logical argumentation. However, it is worth adding that in the subsequent Confucian tradition, there were also authors who can be attributed to philosophy with great justification.

    Thus, it seems that the main thing in this issue is to avoid two extremes. One is what Alexander Zaitsev described in his answer, the extreme exoticism of Eastern culture, when Europeans imagined the East as populated by bearded sages-mystics who were rampant in yoga and kung fu, but unable to think rationally. This, of course, is not so, scientific and philosophical ideas were quite represented in the East, and without any reservations about intuitiveness and so on. The other extreme is when, on the contrary, various directions of Eastern thought that are not philosophy or contain only certain elements that can be recognized as philosophical are presented as philosophy. In the latter case, either a one-dimensional, limited picture of these teachings is created, as happened, for example, with Confucianism (everyone knows about the socio-political aspects of Confucianism, but they may not even mention Confucian mysticism in a typical review course of the history of philosophy), or we are asked to assume that the East had its own very special philosophy, which is a variation on the first position about the “exotic east”, only in profile.

  2. Because for a very long time it was believed that since there was no clear distinction between philosophy and religion in Eastern philosophy, Eastern philosophy is fundamentally irrational, intuitive, that it is expressed not in systems of views, but in spiritual practices, in a specific “way of life”. In the formation of a skeptical attitude towards Eastern philosophy, the influence of bad Western esotericism is great, according to which an Eastern philosopher is not a person who strives for the truth comprehended by reason, but a “Great Teacher of Humanity” who has already achieved perfect wisdom, has already learned the Truth as a result of spiritual exercises or received it in a mystical way from somewhere in the cosmos.

    Here it would be good to refer to the source, but I searched through the entire library – I must have lost, even thrown out that book on Indian philosophy, where it was argued that there is no Indian philosophy at all, but there are religious texts, say, the sermons of the Buddha, which the Western person reads as philosophical, because he poses urgent philosophical questions for him, and then rationalizes the mysticism of the ancient sacred text and sees in it answers to them. The point of view is rather strange, more typical of the XIX century, but it illustrates the logic of the “opponents” of Eastern philosophy.

  3. Because Western and Eastern cultures develop, interacting as two identical dialectical opposites.

    And their philosophies, as the quintessence of national mentality, also interact as two identically dialectical opposite ways of world perception.

    As is known from dialectics, opposites at the end of the dialectical cycle, having saturated each other with their qualities, unite, creating a new quality that has the qualities of both.

    Western and Eastern cultures for centuries and millennia fulfill the task of creating a single culture of humanity, the culture of the future united nation of earthlings. And this is a planetary phenomenon. The idea sounds fantastic, but the process, and the process is quite contradictory, is going on, and its unifying results are becoming more and more clearly visible. Now we are witnessing the completion of the next stage of this process.

    For the first time in the world, an attempt was made to implement a global project and it achieved the result of creating two truly global and two truly unifying systems for all people on planet Earth-information (including the global communications system) and financial systems.

    Of course, the creators and implementers of the global project were not concerned with the noble goal of uniting the peoples of the Earth, but rather, on the contrary, acting on the principle of “divide and rule”, they destroyed both national states and peoples. And the information system was created for practical reasons – to ensure the effective functioning of the financial system and human resources management.

    But a grandiose unifying tool (the Internet) was still created. And if dialectic works, then it works both ways. The Internet, created with some goals in mind, provided a second hidden plan for working on other goals as well. And yet, despite all the costs, the Internet has become a space for intensive international cultural exchange.

    And now, having stated the general, we can proceed to consider the particular-the meaning of the difference between Western and Eastern philosophies, in other words, between two fundamentally different ways of perception of the world, knowledge and, as a consequence, between two different ways of existence of peoples in this world.

    The division of cultures into Western and eastern, of course, is conditional, and has little correlation with the principle of geographical separation. This division is caused by different principles of thinking, different ways of working with information. In Western culture, the rational way of “getting” information about the material world prevails, while in Eastern culture, the intuitive one prevails. The subject of study is the same, but the methods of study are different.

    The main tools of the Western method of cognition are experimental analytical science and logic. Its main methodological principle is the statement – to learn, you need to disassemble the subject into its constituent parts and see how it works. Therefore, Western researchers will invest in the creation of the hadron collider, while Eastern sages will never. The Western researcher studies nature as a separate object. The Eastern tradition of cognition is to gain knowledge about nature in the experience of direct interaction with it, thinking this process is indivisible, and oneself an organic part of nature.

    If the difference between Western and Eastern thinking is expressed in extremely general philosophical categories, then it will be dialectically paired categories-general and particular, divisible and indivisible, individual and collective. The philosophical essence of the process of spreading the Western global project is an attempt to divide the indivisible formed by nature, and the resistance of indivisibility to division.

    Most of our dictionaries, compiled, of course, by Western scientists, intuition is defined as some kind of knowledge or information obtained outside of logical thinking. And, guided by this definition, the Western scientist leaves out of the field of his attention a lot of really existing phenomena in nature, but now and then he becomes a part of these phenomena. When an idea suddenly dawns on him, who has been thinking about a problem for a long time and building long chains of logical reasoning, then this is a phenomenon of intuition, but he is focused on obtaining knowledge in a logical way and denies intuition, he believes that he came to knowledge in a logical way.

    It is not enough for a Western scientist to get an answer, it is important for him to know how this answer is received, and this is the process of obtaining knowledge that he calls science. The Eastern sage, when he intuitively received the answer, will not think about where and how this answer came from. What for? After all, there is already a result and you need to use it, and not spend time and effort on proving and figuring out the answer path. That is, the Eastern sage will not be engaged in the process that the Western scientist regards as science. And the Western scientist believes that in the Eastern culture there was no science in his understanding, science as a logical process, and philosophy as a philosophy expressed in categories.

    The Eastern sage also treats philosophical reasoning in the same way as scientific logical reasoning, without seeing much meaning in them. If a philosophical or poetic thought has dawned on him, he sees it as his task to transform an intuitively visible image into an artistic image. That is why Eastern philosophy and poetry tend to be short, metaphorical and aphoristic.

    Such a difference in approaches to business is also observed in practice. How does a Chinese doctor treat you? He goes up to the patient, looks at him carefully, passes his hand over him, and he already knows everything, and then puts the needles, or, on the contrary, does not put them. If you ask him how he does it, he will not be able to describe his actions in words, because he thinks in images.

    How does a Western doctor treat you? Examines the patient, listens to him with a stethoscope and writes out a referral for tests that will last for several days, then will analyze the results of the tests and look for a suitable diagnosis for the results. At the same time, all these actions will be accompanied by speeches. A Chinese doctor knows everything at once and without words.

    Ideally, both methods of cognition that have historically existed for a long time and have the material world as a common subject of research, and have their own results that ensure the existence and preservation of peoples, should be combined in the future into a single methodology of cognition, which will use the advantages of each. Now, thanks to effective technical means, the process of cross-cultural exchange and mutual enrichment of national cultures is in full swing, and this synthetic methodology is already being latently formed.

  4. “Every sandpiper praises its swamp,” says folk wisdom. But there are also non-philosophical interests here. The Western philosophy has already been built in the interests of those in power (the owners of the Fed), but the eastern one has remained on the sidelines and there are too many “pitfalls” in it that will have to be interpreted. Disputes will arise. Why is this necessary? It is easier to shut up, to say that this is not a philosophy… Just like with the Etruscan language, which is read only in Russian, in Slavic, but as soon as it comes up, all the “experts” become mute or repeat one thing: “Etruscan is not readable.”

  5. Without going into details, I will say that this opinion is caused by the fact that they understand philosophy very narrowly-considering the subject of philosophy only as the main question of philosophy – about the primacy and secondary nature of ideas and matter. All other philosophical questions for them are just tools for studying this question, going into infinity in their development, including branches.

    There is also a vulgar understanding of philosophy, as simply a tendency to logical reasoning on any abstract subject, any, for example, what is a person.

    I think, yes, from the point of view of the basic question of philosophy, as such, there was no philosophy in the East, but from the point of view of a vulgar understanding of philosophy (just a tendency to speculate), this is not so. Sages in the East – higher than the roof, more than in the West.

  6. They are fools. In Asian cultures, sages were found, perhaps, even more often than in European cultures. There is the wisdom of Persia, China, and India. There is great Eastern poetry, brief and wise. If wisdom is not considered philosophy, then of course these fools are right

  7. They also believe that there was no independent philosophy in Russia. Or, only German philosophy is an example of harmony, consistency and depth. Everything else is just an approximation to this pattern. We will not be drawn into the infinity of such assessments-opinions. Just because the doxa philosophy doesn't deal with opinions. But what is considered philosophy and what is not? Merab Mamardashivili's book “How I Understand Philosophy”was published in due time. The “I”is important here. My understanding of philosophy (like Tsvetaeva's “my Pushkin”) is important for the nature of philosophy. In other words, the experience of” factual philosophy ” (Kant) is transmitted, presented already in the form of some kind of representation. With the help of the latter, the experience of actual (practical philosophy) is extracted. Paradoxically, philosophy “studies” philosophy (philosophy as thinking about thinking — Aristotle).

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