Chinese and Western Philosophy

Topics: Virtue, Stoicism, Ethics Pages: 3 (1010 words) Published: September 13, 2013
Susana Toledano
Professor Newbill
Ethics, Option 23
4 June 2013

A Student’s Attempt in Making a Mr. Wenllib Paper: The Chinese Way

Western and Eastern ideas are not usually aligned with each other. Both are guided and lead to a certain path, but the common thought is that they do not touch. Seneca, who embodies the stoic belief of the western philosophy, and Kongzi, the archetype for Chinese philosophy, are more similar than most would believe since they both aspire one true purpose: virtue. On behalf of the sake of virtue these sophists agree in many doctrines, which allow them to follow dao, The Way even if they are not aware making them ren, virtuous men.

A certain idea must be present in order to start following it. Kongzi says, “The application of colors comes only after a suitable unadorned background is present” (page 8). One cannot start painting unless there is a picture to paint consequently a certain order is to be followed. Seneca would agree to such principle since he says, “We must first establish what it is we seek to gain; then we must search because the road to take us there” (page 85). Whether it is reaching a place, or painting a picture if there lacks a purpose, the result is most likely bound to fail. If The Way is the path both aspire, then they are one step closer to it by defining what it is.

An important aspect of The Way is restraint. Kongzi says, “One who is good sees as his first priority the hardship of self-cultivation, and only after thinks about the results or rewards” (page 10) for restraint shows focus and determination to achieve one’s goal. Seneca, being a stoic, believes “The happy man, therefore presents sound judgment; the happy man is satisfied with his present situation, no matter what it is” (page 90). Difficult tasks bring honor to the ones who overcome them; the same goes aimed at people who show restraint. Letting emotions overrule, and taking the easy way out are signs of weakness, they show no...

Cited: Pilip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden. Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy,
Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2001. Kindle Edition
Seneca, Translated by John Davie and Tobias Reindhart. Dialogues and Essays.
New York Oxford University, 2007. Kindle Edition
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