Eastern and Western Philosophy

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The subject of philosophy has always been divided along two lines of thinking – the eastern and the western. Though each line is concerned with finding the right path to follow, the methodology and teachings of the philosophers from either line of thinking has been distinct and different. This paper aims to examine the ideas of one eastern and one western philosopher – Confucius and Socrates respectively and compare the two for similarities and differences.

One of the greatest philosophers from the eastern school of philosophy, Confucius was a just and righteous man, who adhered to ancient Chinese customs, ideals and conformed to the principles pre-laid by ancient sages. Because of his fame as a man of ideals, his counsel was often sought upon by kings. In his advice to emperors, Confucius stressed on the importance of examples. He believed if the emperor lead his subjects by leading an exemplary life, his subjects would follow and the state would be harmonious and prosper. His virtue of ethics was based on a simple rule – do not what you do not wish to be done to yourself. This is a powerful statement that underlines the aim of following virtuous acts – bad is something which you do not want for yourself, good actions are the ones which you wish to be returned to you. Through this statement, people could contemplate the impact of their actions on others and for themselves, decide upon what was right and what was wrong. In his advice to emperors, he preached for a rule of non-violence. Vadim Kotelnikov quotes Confucius on a website with regard to governance “Your job is to govern, not to kill” (Vadim Kotelnikov, http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/crosscuttings/cultures_confucius.htmlHis philosophy regarding morality involved limiting the desires of self. But, he clearly stated that this did not mean the denial of one’s desires, rather virtuous acts were ones which caused happiness to others as well as to self. He...
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