Freedom and Determinism

 Questions to consider: Am I a creature of fate, of gigantic forces beyond my control? Am I a mysterious mixture of body and spirit, part determined and part free? Am I an electronic computer programmed by my environment? Is my feeling of being free to shape my future just an illusion? Is it fair to punish a boy for stealing […]

Natural behaviour & Social behaviour

…Yet on closer examination, one can recognize a significant difference between laws regulating natural behaviour and those regulating social behaviour. The difference between the natural and social orders lies in the fact that  while the former is subject to laws of necessity, the latter is affected by laws of freedom. Things behave in accordance with […]

Language, Mind , and Reality (Expression, Reference, and Referent)

…Expressions are used here to denote linguistic symbols or words. Expressions meditate between the objects of the existential world and their image in the human mind, thereby making social communication possible. Language therefore plays a dual role. It first serves as a means of communication, thereby making social interaction possible.

John Locke and Revelation

Locke is among very few Western thinkers who confronted the question of revelation directly. Toward the end of his book Locke examines the significance of revelation as a source of knowledge. While considering Divine revelation to be, in principle, a source of certain knowledge, he defines its authority in such a manner that it is […]

Contrasting ideas on “Causality” (Ghazzali, David Hume, and Ibn Rushd)

 Ibn Rushd’s refutation of Ghazzali, is not confined to the mode of argument they employed in the study of divinity, but also to the one that used for understanding nature. In the book Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), Ghazzali, though accepting natural sciences studied by philosophers, rejects four notions the philosophers utilized in […]

Zen: Taste the food, not your tongue!

 Human mind consists primarily and originally in action — in living in the concrete world of “suchness.” But we have the power to control action by reflection, that is, by thinking, by comparing the actual world with memories or “reflections.” Memories are organized in terms of more or less abstract images — words, signs, simplified […]

Zen: Eternal Present and Timeless Mind

Zen is a liberation from time. For if we open our eyes and see clearly, it becomes obvious that there is no other time than this instant, and that the past and future are abstractions without any concrete reality. Until this has become clear, it seems that our life is all past and future, and […]

Hierarchy of epistemic concepts (13 steps)

Let’s start with definition of some important terms. Epistemological questions: “What can I know? How can I distinguish those things I am justified in believing from those things I am not justified in believing? And how can I decide whether I am more justified in believing one thing than in believing another?” Philosophical skeptics: There […]

Avicenna’s proof of God and its corollary

From al-Farabi, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) inherited the Neo-Platonic emanationist scheme of existence. Contrary to the classical Muslim theologians, he rejected creation ex nihilo and argued that cosmos has no beginning but is a natural logical product of the divine One. The super-abundant, pure Good that is the One cannot fail to produce an ordered and […]

David Hume’s critique of causality

Causation The medieval synthesis Thomas Aquinas (1224–74) forged between Christian theology and Aristotle’s science and metaphysics set the terms for the early modern causation debate. Aristotle (384–322 BCE) drew an absolute categorical distinction between scientific knowledge (scientia) and belief (opinio). Scientific knowledge was knowledge of causes and scientific explanation consisted in demonstration—proving the necessary connection […]

Hafez and Goethe

GOETHE, JOHANN WOLFGANG von (1749-1832), the most renowned poet of German literature, was already from his youth deeply interested in the East and in Islam. He planned to write a drama about Moḥammad, as witnessed by the poem Mahomets-Gesang. But it was not until later, during his period of romanticism, that the poet devoted his […]

Descartes: The Mind-Body Problem

Introduction One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes’ philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct—a thesis now called “mind-body dualism.” He reaches this conclusion by arguing that the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, […]

Central and Peripheral Vision of Mind

The linear one-at-a-time character of speech and thought is particularly noticeable in all languages using alphabets, representing experience in long strings of letters. It is not easy to say why we must communicate with others (speak) and with ourselves (think) by this one-at-a-time method, life itself does not proceed in this cumbersome, linear fashion, and […]

Introduction of Zen Schools into Japan

Historically, Zen may be regarded as the fulfillment of long traditions of Indian and Chinese culture, though it is actually much more Chinese than Indian, and since the twelfth century, it has rooted itself deeply and most creatively in the culture of Japan. The Rinzai School of Zen was introduced into Japan in 1911 by […]

Buddhism and its origins in brief

 The danger of scholarship is always that, in extreme specialization, it may be unable to see the forest for the trees. But the problem of gaining some idea of the thought of India at the time of the Buddha, six centuries before Christ, is not to be solved by careful piece-work alone – necessary as […]

Creation and God in Indian Philosophy

Fundamental to the life and thought of Indian from the very earliest times is the great mythological theme of atma-yajna—the act of “self-sacrifice” whereby God gives birth to the world, and whereby men, following the divine pattern, reintegrate themselves with God. The act by which the world is created is the same act by which […]

It is man who makes truth great!

Reasonable, unfanatical, humanistic, Confucianism is one of the most workable patterns of social convention that the world has known. It is a basic Confucian principle that “It is man who makes truth great, not truth which makes man great.” For this reason “humanness” or “human-heartedness” is always feels to be superior to righteousness, since man […]

Anthropology of Religion

Source: The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion, Edited by: Robert A. Segal                           Anthropology of Religion–Powerpoints

The Tao and usual Western idea of God

 The important difference between the Tao and the usual idea of God is that whereas God produces the world by “making”, the Tao produces it by “not-making” — which is approximately what we mean by “growing”. For things made are separate parts put together, like machines, or things fashioned from without inwards, like sculptures. Whereas […]

Multicultural & Cross/Inter-cultural (Definitions and more)

Introduction: Sometimes people are shocked by behaviour they feel shows a lack of “common sense”. Clearly, something that makes sense to members of one culture may make no sense at all to members of another. Sometimes seems incredibly naïve to speak of acceptance, tolerance and empathy in a world that seems increasingly marked by a return […]

Body language gestures from around Asia

Cross-cultural difference are not only refers to verbal communication, but also existed in all sorts of human activities between foreigner tourist and local hosts. Non-verbal behaviour is a significant element for a tourist because it is easier to be noticed and understood than verbal communication. Researchers believed that most of the message is communicated through […]

Definition of some important philosophical terms

Atomism: The idea that the universe is made up of tiny particles. Determinism: The belief that everything that happens in the universe is fixed in advance. Dualism: The belief that the universe consists of two different things (mind and matter). Empiricism: The belief that experience is the source of all knowledge.

Schools of Philosophy: The Post-Modernists

Post-modernism is a relatively recent movement in philosophy. It was so named because it began as a reaction against the “modern” age of Philosophy since Descartes. Descartes had begun the trend in establishing systems aimed at discovering fixed and absolute truths about the universe. The post-modernists’ view is that philosophy is fooling itself. Post modernist […]

Schools of Philosophy: Feminist Philosophers

 Feminists believe that society is based on unequal division between men and women. The “first wave”feminists were concerned with equality between the sexes. “Second wave” feminists are more concerned that what is special to women be recognized and valued as important. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797): Wollstonecraft‘s most influential book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”, […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Existentialists

 The Existentialists believe that there is no order in the universe and no objective rights or wrongs. Individuals are free to create their own lives according to the choices they make and must take responsibility for their actions. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855): Kierkegaard is seen by many as the father of existentialism because of his attack on […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Phenomenologists

 Phenomenology is the study of how things appear. The Phenomenologists tried to get  behind the surface of how things appear to reveal the nature of consciousness itself. Edmund Husserl: Husserl was the founder of phenomenology. He wanted to do away with theories about reality and restore certainty to philosophy. His method was to describe exactly […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Pragmatists

Pragmatism is a practical view of philosophy. Pragmatists view the truthfulness of an idea in terms of its usefulness in real life. This school was the first major movement in Philosophy to come from North America. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914):  Peirce invented the term “pragmatism”. He meant to be a method to clarify the relationship […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Empiricists

Empiricism is the complete opposite of rationalism. Empiricists believe that true knowledge of the world is obtained through the senses, not by reason. These philosophers argue that we have ideas only because we have perceptions. All knowledge is based on experience. John Locke: Locke disagreed with Descartes’ rationalism and had no inclination to rely on […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Rationalists

Rationalists consider that truths about reality can only be revealed through reason, not by believing what the senses tell us about the world. Parmenides:  Parmenides can be considered the first Rationalist because he thought that the material world could only be properly understood by thought and reason, not what is perceived through senses. Parmenides’ idea […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Scholastics

The Scholastics were Christian thinkers who tried to understand and explain Christian doctrines in the light of ancient Greek philosophy. The Christian tinkers who lived in the first few centuries after the birth of Christ were known as “Church Fathers”. Scholasticism dominated Western philosophy for hundreds of years. St Augustine (354-430): St Augustine was born […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Materialists

The materialists hold the complete opposite view to the idealists on the nature of reality. Materialists believe that everything that exists is either matter or depends on matter for its existence. The real world is out in the street, not in the head. Aristotle: Aristotle was Plato’s first great critic. Aristotle thought that Plato had […]

Schools of philosophy: The Idealists

Idealists believe that the external, material world is produced by the mind or ideas and that it cannot exist separately. Reality therefore begins inside the head, not out in the street. Plato: Plato thought that everything in the material world owes its existence to a perfect, external, and unchanging idea from which it is modelled. […]

Schools of Philosophy: Greek Schools After Socrates

 After Socrates’ death, three new schools of thought were founded in Athens. All of them were influenced by Socrates’ search for what is Good. The Cynics: Started by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, the Cynics became widely known through the antics of Diogenes, Antisthenes’ pupil. Diogenes preached that the only path to happiness was living […]

Schools of Philosophy: The Pre-Socratic Philosophers

The pre-Socratics (The Early Greeks) were the first philosophers in the West. They are classed as the school that started Western philosophy off on its 2,500-year-old-history. The ancient Greeks believed in a family of gods, who lived in palaces at the top of Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The whole universe and its […]

The Father of Western Philosophy

Socrates was a familiar figure in Athens. Shabbily dressed and always barefoot, even in winter, he spent his days discussing everything under the sun with all and sundry. He was soon regarded as the wisest man in Athens, even though the city was full of philosophers who charged money for teaching. This flattery did not […]

Philosophy Today (20th Century)

Philosophy today began with a shift away from “I” as the Key to understanding reality. Instead, thinkers started probing into human “structures”. Language, science, and society itself all came under scrutiny. One of the most important changes in philosophy today ids the emphasis put on words and how they reflect the world.