Comparative philosophy


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Beauty and aesthetics Bioethics Comparative philosophy Cosmopolitanism Death Ethics History of ideas Knowledge Logic and probability Meaning and the good life Metaphysics Philosophy of language Philosophy of mind Philosophy of religion Philosophy of science Political philosophy Thinkers and theories Values and beliefs Virtues and vices

Illustration detail of Zu Luo, one of China’s 24 paragons of filial piety and a disciple of Confucius. Private collection. Photo by Corbis/Getty

Essay/
History of ideas
Western philosophy is racist

Academic philosophy in ‘the West’ ignores and disdains the thought traditions of China, India and Africa. This must change

Bryan W Van Norden

Photo by Jim Young/Reuters

Essay/
Knowledge
Escape the echo chamber

First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult

C Thi Nguyen

Near Lalibela, in northern Ethiopia, the location of Zera Yacob’s cave. Photo by Raymond Depardon/Magnum

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The African Enlightenment

The highest ideals of Locke, Hume and Kant were first proposed more than a century earlier by an Ethiopian in a cave

Dag Herbjørnsrud

Serpent Labret with Articulated Tongue, 1300–1521 CE. Labrets were the visual markers of the eloquent, truthful speech expected of royalty and the nobility in Aztec culture. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Essay/
Ethics
Life on the slippery Earth

Aztec moral philosophy has profound differences from the Greek tradition, not least its acceptance that nobody is perfect

Sebastian Purcell

Photo by Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

Essay/
Love and friendship
Buddhists in love

Lovers crave intensity, Buddhists say craving causes suffering. Is it possible to be deeply in love yet truly detached?

Lisa Feldman Barrett & John Dunne

A prince and attendants visiting a noble yogini at an Ashram. Murshidabad sub-style, c1765. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Essay/
Comparative philosophy
First women of philosophy

Philosophy was once a woman’s world, ranging across Asia, Africa and Latin America. It’s time to reclaim that lost realm

Dag Herbjørnsrud

A general view of the Terracotta Warriors photographed in 2017 in Xi’an, China. Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
The copy is the original

In China and Japan, temples may be rebuilt and ancient warriors cast again. There is nothing sacred about the ‘original’

Byung-Chul Han

Tibetan monks dressed as demons attend the Beating Ghost festival at the Yonghe Temple, March 2015. Photo by Wang Zhao/Getty

Essay/
Religion
Not your Tibetan Buddhism

Behind the beatific image of Tibetan Buddhism lies a dark, complicated reality. But is it one the Western gaze wants to see?

Mark Hay

The Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw, Kyaiktiyo, Burma (now Myanmar), in 1978. According to legend, the rock is balanced on a strand of Buddha’s hair. Photo by Hiroji Kubota/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
Buddhism and self-deception

How can I logically manage to deceive myself? Buddhist thought offers a way out of the philosophical paradox

Katie Javanaud

Mencius, The Three Moves. Anonymous drawing, China, 20th century. Photo by AKG Images

Essay/
Ethics
The second sage

The Confucian philosopher Mengzi provides an intriguing (and oddly modern) alternative to Aristotelian accounts of human virtue

Bryan W Van Norden

Buddhist monks receive alms in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo by Chris Stowers/Panos

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Marxism and Buddhism

Life is suffering, whether you sit under a Bodhi Tree or stand with the workers. But do the two schools agree on the remedy?

Adrian Kreutz

Departure of Special-attack Unit from Homeland Base by Sentaro Iwata, Japan 1940s. Public Domain image

Essay/
Philosophy of religion
Into nothingness

In the 1940s, Japan’s search for a national philosophy became a battle for existence. Did Zen ideas create the kamikaze?

Christopher Harding

Gandhi greets people through the window of a train, 1940. Photo by Dinodia Photos/Getty

Essay/
History of ideas
Gandhi the philosopher

Better known as the face of non-violent protest, Gandhi was also a surprising, subtle philosopher in the Stoic tradition

Richard Sorabji

Detail from Ore into Iron (1953) by Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965). Gift of William H and Saundra B Lane and Henry H and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Pragmatism endures

Pragmatism was not eclipsed after Dewey: it has been a constant and dominant force in philosophy for nearly 100 years

Cheryl Misak & Robert B Talisse

Photo by Chris de Bode/Panos

Essay/
History of ideas
A truly African philosophy

‘Consolation philosophy’ understands the human being as a unity of feeling and reason, in a cosmos rich with primal emotion

Ada Agada

Illustration by Matt Murphy/Handsome Frank

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Australian philosophy

Despite its reputation as remote and anti-intellectual, Australia has exercised a surprisingly deep influence on philosophy

Peter Godfrey-Smith