Hmm… I almost put up scare quotes around ‘Eastern Philosophy’ – but then I thought I’d just put them up around ‘Eastern’ – and then just around ‘Philosophy’ – but perhaps each, separately, needed its own scare quotes. Then again, what exactly is an ‘infographic’?
Scare quotes and worries about definitions aside (do some research and decide for yourself what these words mean), I was sent this the other day and found it interesting and useful enough to warrant sharing. As an educator I think it could be used as a teaching tool in at least two ways:
- Take it and revise it with the best of your own knowledge and give it to students as a visual guide, preferably early in a course. Or
- Give it to to students and a) have them revise and update it as a course progresses, or b) use it as a test item at the end of a semester, asking them to correct as much as they can in a single sitting.
And, teaching aside, it could be useful as a general conversation piece: “what do you think of this?” Find experts or advanced students in any of the given areas and ask what looks right, what looks close to right, and what seems completely wrong. For instance, from the dates of the Buddha to the exclusion of all Mahayana philosophy, I would say that the Buddhism portion is in need of extensive revision. And, as with my similar conclusions about Zizek (sorry, Zizek fans), when I see a hatchet job being done on an area I know well, I become very suspicious that there may be hatchet jobs in other areas as well that I just can’t sufficiently pick out.
Despite the problems – and there will always be problems, won’t there, whether they’re problems I see or those that others see, etc – I think it might serve as an acceptable early draft of a “cartoon version” of at least the chronology of these philosophies. It’s a start. Let’s see what we can do with it, and hopefully someone out there can improve it sufficiently that we all very soon have a cartoon version 2.0 to argue about (please email it to me if/when you do!). And then a 3.0, 3.1, 3.14, 3.14159, and so on without end.
The infographic comes with the following introductory blurb:
A History of Eastern Philosophy
Eastern Philosophy is expansive, beginning as far back as 5,000 years ago. Eastern philosophies are also some of the most intricate and popular on the planet, with many adherents to religious philosophies thousands of years old.
Far from being isolated, many philosophies began in small sections of the Asia and spread for thousands of miles. As early as the Ancient Greeks, there was interplay between eastern and western thought, and Islamic thought–in particular– laid the foundation for the enlightenment in the west.
Though many of the schools of thought on our graphic are religious in some form, their philosophical importance can’t be underestimated, with many religious thinkers contributing substantially to the development of logic, metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology.
Want to learn more about philosophy? You may also enjoy: History of Philosophy