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Indian and Chinese Philosophy

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Adrián Slavkovský

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Most important philosophical concepts of that region like holistic or ceremonial approach to reality, openness to transcendence, pluralism of opinions, behaviour leading by a sense of harmony are somehow complementary to our prevailing contemporary Western thought. Therefore they can be enriching and balancing for us and our culture.
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Introduction

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In the socialist era it was complicated to find information about Eastern cultures in our country and it was even harder to get the professional books about the philosophy of these cultures. With open borders and possibilities, there were far too many offers at once. Not only concerning books, but also movies and other forms of art, meditation courses, martial arts, and of course plenty of goods. Thanks to the internet, the world has become even more globalised, the Asian countries that had been relatively distant were no longer distant or irrelevant to us. Among books, which should have told us more about the Eastern way of thinking, the genre of esoterism dominated and that made an overview of who were the important thinkers and schools more difficult. Most textbooks about the history of philosophy or various introductions into philosophy did not include ← 7 | 8 → Eastern thinking at all or it was scarcely mentioned. That situation has changed significantly over the past two years and especially someone who speaks a foreign language, mainly English, can easily find relevant works about any aspect of Eastern philosophy.

This textbook offers a brief overview of the main philosophical schools of the two most significant cultures in ancient Asia, from where these thoughts have spread widely – it concerns ancient India and China. Considering the major culture and language differences, a little space was dedicated to a broader context of Indian and Chinese philosophy and language, because many terms, which are...

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