Philosophy in different parts of the world

The word philosophy means ‘ love of wisdom ’ in Greek. It is the pursuit of wisdom , truth and knowledge. It is the study of life’s fundamental questions involving truth, morality, ethics, reasons, logic and existence. A human being , at some point in his life , has wondered upon questions such as ‘ why am I here’ , ‘what is truth’, ‘what is reality’ , ‘is there a free will’ , ‘ what is right and wrong’ etc. These questions come in the realm of philosophy. It is closely related to natural sciences.

History of philosophy

Western philosophy

The ancient western era was dominated by Greek philosophical school of thoughts. This era was largely influenced by Socrates and Aristotle. The common topics discussed included metaphysics, cosmology, atomism and monism . In the medieval period , with the rise of the Roman Empire and Christianity , questions such as mature of God , evil & good were pondered upon. Modern philosophy concerned with developing a secular foundation and discarded the authority of religion.

Islamic Philosophy

Islamic philosophy is mostly done in Arabic . Two main schools of thought were Kalam ( which focused on Islamic theology) and Falsafa. Philosophers such as Al Kindi , Avicenna and Averroes were greatly influenced by the work of Aristotle whereas Al Ghazali was highly critical of him. The 19th and 20th century Arab world witnessed Nahda movement ( The Awakening or The Arab Renaissance). This shaped the modern Islamic philosophy.

Indian Philosophy

Indian philosophy included concepts like dharma , karma, pramana , dukha-sukha and moksh. It is grouped based on teachings of Vedas and Upanishads . The Himdu philosophers of various orthodox ( astika) schools investigated topics such as metaphysics, ethics , psychology. These schools presented different interpretation within the framework of Vedic knowledge. On the other side , the unorthodox (nastika) traditions rejected the ideas of Atman , Brahman and Ishwara . Jainism accepted atman bit discarded ishwara, vedas and brahman. Buddhism only accepted concept of rebirth and karma.

East Asian Philosophy

The Chinese philosophy saw the rise of schools such as Confucianism , Legalism and Taoism. These traditions developed metaphysical , political and ethical theories such as Tao, Yin & Yang , Ren & Li. Buddhism arrived in China through Silk route and transformed into Chinese form Zen. Many different philosophies such as that of Korea, Japan and Vietnam were influenced by the Chinese philosophy. In modern era, China and Japan philosophers have incorporated ideas of western philosophy. Kokugaku thinker from Japan returned to pure traditions called Shinto that is untainted by foreign influence.

Indigenous American Philosophy

This consists of variety of beliefs including principle of presence of ‘ The Great Spirit’ and concept of Orenda or spiritual power. The practices to access the transcendental experiences of mind came to known as Shamanism. The Nahua metaphysics proposed the concept of an ultimate universal energy which it says is single, vital , self generating sacred force.