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Comparative philosophy and beyond… Matti Nojonen 13.1.2014 Aalto University.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparative philosophy and beyond… Matti Nojonen 13.1.2014 Aalto University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparative philosophy and beyond… Matti Nojonen Aalto University

2 The traditional base Classical Western thought were born out of strive to understand the reason, “one behind the many”, logical reasoning and debate, deduction, pondering why we exist, identifying causal relations … Classical Chinese thought was predominantly interested on issues of proper social, political organization, motivations how to organize society and state, more like policy think-tanks

3 Differences in world views Western ’scientific’ analysis Theory – practice Conceptual preciseness Agency – action Subject – object Agent (heroic) controls the situation/process Order (divine) comes from a model, strive for universal law “Reason”, “cause” behind the order/reality can be deducted Chinese world view Notion of “dao” – constant flux and movement, situational, never repetitive Conceptual ambiguity Priority of situation, emphasize on transformation/change over agency and action Subject – object deeply interdependent of the world of change, mutually replaceable Agent can never control, only lead the process to certain direction No divine order, Order always dynamic, models constantly changing, regularities always provisional, site-specific

4 Western driving force Ontological drive: “Knowing what the reality is behind appearances” ‘knowledge’ is based on logic, reason that can be illustrated in clear models and theories Chinese driving force Cosmological drive: “Knowing how the world hangs together” “Knowing” is more of knowing+doing, knowing is practical, practice oriented, something you do something with, knowing is always more pragmatic than theoretical

5 The cosmology of dao Dao ( 道 ) is used by all Chinese schools of thought Early Chinese cosmological principle ”reality is an endless stream of always novel and real situations” Yin-yang thinking Agents cannot be decontextualised, agents cannot be isolated, thinking and analysing only ”one” is impossible

6 Matteo Ricci Matteo Ricci, famous Jesuit in China ( ): “to teach the Chinese to distinguish between substance and accident, the spiritual soul from material body, the creator and his creation, moral good from natural good” fundamental pattern of thinking differed, mental categories and modes of thought differed

7 Encounter with “the Science” Since late 19 th century the Chinese (particularly the young radicals) began to adopt Western based scientific learning First: technological reforms (national defense, economy)  failed, as the thinking was different Then rapid adoption of “Western learning” since the early 20 th century – newest and most radical ideas adopted

8 “Western” learning Western scientific, political and cultural impact changed the traditional China From West: China first democracy in Asia (1911), but soon internal struggle May 4 th Movement (1919) and radicalization of whole youth generation Youth: Smash the old Confucian China Chinese Enlightenment Era, but soon struggle between the Communists and Nationalists

9 Is there a legacy in thinking? Does Chinese world-view, cosmology differ? – Yes, Chinese do not have any trace of radical, fundamental religious fanatism (or therefore wars of religion) – Flexibility, adaptability and curiosity toward “religions” – But how does affect social behavior? The “Soviet” model of scientific education  heavy emphasize on hard sciences

10 Is there a legacy in thinking? Concept of “Practical Rationality” (shiyong lixing, 实用理性 ), by Li Zehou Due to the ontological and cosmological differences the Chinese are extremely practical in what they do ”creative principle in a dynamic living process of historical accumulation of experiences”, ”more fullfilment to the end rather than than the appearance of the means” ”inseparateness of emotions from rationality (gingli bufen, 情理不分 ) ”historical awareness” (lishi yishi, 历史意识 )

11 The geography of thought Does the cognition differ? Does it matter? Case of dyslexia – there are differences in how the brain function in reading However, brain is adaptable Cognition differ between Asians (Japanese, Korean) and Westerners – Asians pay more attention to the relationship between different “fishes” and potential changes – Westerners pay more attention to the individual (big) fish and provide a static description


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