Eastern Philosophy: The Basics  book cover
2nd Edition

Eastern Philosophy: The Basics

ISBN 9781138215788
Published September 4, 2018 by Routledge
246 Pages

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Book Description

Eastern Philosophy: The Basics is an essential introduction to major Indian and Chinese philosophies, both past and present. Exploring familiar metaphysical and ethical questions from the perspectives offered by a range of eastern philosophies, including Confucianism, Daoism, the main Buddhist and Hindu philosophical schools, as well  as Jainism, this book covers key figures, issues, methods and concepts.

Questions discussed include:

  • What is the ‘self’?
  • Is human nature inherently good or bad?
  • How is the mind related to the world?
  • How can you live an authentic life?
  • What is the fundamental nature of reality?
  • With timelines highlighting key figures and their contributions, a list of useful websites, pronunciation guides and further reading suggestions, Eastern Philosophy: The Basics provides an engaging overview of fundamental ideas in eastern philosophy. The second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated to take account of the most recent scholarship. It includes study questions for each chapter, an updated bibliography, a new section on the Yijing and expanded discussion of Indian philosophies and their basis in experience. Eastern Philosophy: The Basics is valuable reading for all students of philosophy and religion, especially those seeking to understand eastern thought.

    Table of Contents

    List of figures and tables

    Preface to the second edition




    ▪ What is ‘eastern philosophy’?

    ▪ Philosophy as a cross-cultural phenomenon

    ▪ Philosophical questions

    ▪ Philosophy in India

    ▪ Philosophy in China

    ▪ Terminology and translations

    ▪ The philosopher’s dilemma

    ▪ What happens next?

    ▪ Study question

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 1: Reason

    ▪ Ignorance

    ▪ Argument

    ▪ Debate

    ▪ Knowledge

    ▪ Inference

    ▪ Causation

    ▪ Scepticism

    ▪ Perspectives

    ▪ Logic

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 1

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 2: Reality

    ▪ Origins

    ▪ Existence

    ▪ Monism

    ▪ Dualism

    ▪ Pluralism

    ▪ Experience

    ▪ The nature of things

    ▪ Ultimate reality

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 2

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 3: Persons

    ▪ Self and world

    ▪ Self in the Upaniṣads

    ▪ Rebirth

    ▪ Karma

    ▪ Freedom

    ▪ Individuals

    ▪ No abiding self

    ▪ Dependent co-arising

    ▪ Liberation

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 3

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 4: Virtue

    ▪ Tradition

    ▪ The Way

    ▪ Virtue and relationships

    ▪ Goodness

    ▪ Rites

    ▪ Self-cultivation

    ▪ Impartial care

    ▪ Human nature

    ▪ Altruism

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 4

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 5: Authenticity

    ▪ Egoism

    ▪ Dao

    ▪ Nature

    ▪ Passivity

    ▪ Opposites

    ▪ Vice

    ▪ Non-action

    ▪ Ways of being

    ▪ Exemplary persons

    ▪ Legalism

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 5

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading

    Chapter 6: Mind

    ▪ Words and things

    ▪ Individuals and universals

    ▪ Emptiness and insight

    ▪ Enlightenment

    ▪ Principles

    ▪ The problem of the many and the one

    ▪ Transcendence and immanence

    ▪ Introspection

    ▪ Universal Mind

    ▪ Sageliness

    ▪ Summary of Chapter 6

    ▪ Study questions

    ▪ References and further reading


    ▪ Unexplored terrain

    ▪ Global philosophy

    ▪ References and further reading

    Appendix 1: Timelines

    Appendix 2: Websites

    Appendix 3: Pronunciation

    Appendix 4: Tones for key Chinese terms and names

    General Bibliography


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    Victoria S. Harrison is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Macau, China. She has extensive experience of teaching Indian and Chinese philosophies and has published widely in the subject areas of Philosophy and Religion.


    "This book offers a clear and substantive introduction to the major themes and debates of the Indian and Chinese traditions. Lucidly written and organised, Harrison shows readers how to read and understand the texts and concerns of cultures with very different sensibilities and concerns. Students will find the thematic structure particularly helpful, offering them rich insights into different figures and schools. This book is an excellent resource for those interested to teach and promote appreciation of Asian philosophy."

    Ian James Kidd, University of Nottingham, UK

    "Victoria Harrison's Eastern Philosophy: The Basics is an indispensable, brilliant guide to philosophy in Asia, especially India and China. The first edition is outstanding, much appreciated by my students; the second edition is even more superb in the class and seminar room."

    Charles Taliaferro, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, St. Olaf College, USA 

    "Victoria Harrison provides a clear-sighted and astute guide to complex eastern traditions and texts. Eastern Philosophy: The Basics is an ideal introduction for the beginner but also a useful guide for more experienced scholars. An initial chapter sets out with admirable clarity the traditions and schools in their context; but thereafter addresses the core topics of philosophy in a synoptic view across the traditions."

    Gwen Griffith-Dickson, King's College London, UK