II Fundamental Concepts of Classical Chinese Philosophy (180367)
118 Our present-day historical consciousness, as well as our consciousness of our present situation, is determined … by the conception of the Axial Period. - Karl Theodor Jaspers165 Introduction The years from 800 B.C. to 200 B.C., esp. from 600 B.C. to 300 B.C. are the period of emergence of great philosophers of different cultures, which are named as the Axial Age in The Origin and Goal of History (1953) by Karl Theodor Jaspers. The Axial Age is a turning point in human history. In the years centering around 500 B.C., great advances in religion, philosophy, science, democracy, and many forms of art occurred independently and almost simultaneously in China, India, the Middle East, and Greece. India experienced a dramatic socio-political and intellectual transformation, and produced the teachings of the Buddha (563-483 B.C.?) and Mahavira (599-527 B.C.). Like China, new teachings ran the whole gamut of philosophical thoughts of school, including even skepticism, materialism, sophism, and nihilism. In Palestine, the prophets Elijah (9th century B.C.), Isaiah (8th century B.C.), Jeremiah (645-585 B.C.?), and Book of Isaiah166 made their appearance. The law and moral code of the Israelites dates back to before this age. In ancient Mesopotamia, cultural developments were relatively close to those in ancient Israel. However, concepts including the belief in a transcendent creator God, and full subservience of the political rulers to a God did not materialize. In Greece, developments were more philosophical than spiritual. Greece witnessed the appearance of Thales (624-545 B.C.?), Xenophanes (431-355 B.C.?), and Heraclitus (540-470...
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