East Asian Philosophies

Musashi University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    East Asian Philosophies

  • Host University

    Musashi University

  • Location

    Tokyo, Japan

  • Area of Study

    Asian Studies, Philosophy

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The aim of this course is to help students acquire a basic understanding about the history of East Asian traditional thoughts, which would also lead to deeper and better insights into many contemporary issues of the region. The course will consist of four sections.

    1. Firstly, it will focus on the major schools of Chinese classical philosophy (such as Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism) that formed a common ideological background in premodern East Asia, tracing how they had been generated and developed into highly sophisticated theories (both metaphysical and practical), and how they had spread over a broad area of the Far East and fostered the emergence of a ?sphere of civilization? (in the broader sense of term).

    2. In the second section, the course will discuss the process in which the classical philosophies gradually merged with indigenous or imported religions in different parts of East Asia and ingenerated various forms of religious traditions. The examples such as following will be covered: Confucianism as a theory and ritual of ancestral worship, Taoism as a popular religion, Chinese Buddhism and its unique development in Japan, Japanese Shintoism, and Islam in China (that may seem somewhat less important but actually has played very important role in Chinese history).

    3. The third section will provide a general survey of the profound influence of these teachings ? especially Confucianism ? to the traditional political and social systems in East Asia. The cases of China, Japan and Korea will be considered comparatively.

    4. Then finally, the problems of ?traditional thoughts and modernity? in East Asia will be discussed. This final section will deal with the philosophical struggles in China and Japan after the late 19th century to reconsider the traditional thoughts, transform the old ideologies and construct the new ways of thinking.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.