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Contemporary Asian philosophy?

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Recently I started watching Chinese TV programs on a cable channel. Chinese news, Chinese dramas, Taiwan music programs, Hong kong movies, etc. are broadcast 24 hours a day. I don't understand Chinese because the pronunciations are completely different from "Chinese characters" used in Japan, but I can follow the story reading Chinese captions appeared on the screen. Chinese TV programs are very interesting. Last week I saw a gangster movie made by producers from mainland China and Hong Kong. This movie (I forgot the title) was great. I coudln't believe it was a movie produced by a former communist country. Interestingly, Hong Kong movies have both Chinese and English captions, which makes us easier to follow the story.

There are many people here who stress that we need the East Asian community in the near future. Of course, we have to resolve some difficult political issues between China and Japan, and between Korea and Japan, before creating such a community. And these will be one of the main topics in the coming International Bioethics conference in Beijing.

I would like to know what kind of philosophical researches are going on in the East Asian region. In Japan, philosophers have studied "Western" philosophy for a long time, and we have a great deal of commentary on "Western" thoughts, but I must say there are very few "original" thinkers in this country. In Japan, "philosophy" means "Western philosophy." And there are still many academicians who believe contemporary issues such as "bioethics" are not the "real" philosophical topics. For them, research on Hegel or Heidegger, for example, is the "real" philosophy, and bioethics is a mere "application" of it. What about in China and Korea? I once read the abstract of a Chinese journal of philosophy and a Korean one. Almost all papers were commentaries on "Western" philosophers.

I think this is a very strange phenomenon. But I don't think that we should go back to our philosophical traditions, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism, and develop research on traditional thinkers in Asia. I would like to communicate with philosophers who understand both the importance of recent "Western" philosophical approaches and the richness of our traditional thoughts, and seek to research "contemporary" philosophical issues from one's own perspective. In a word, I would like to communicate with philosophers, not with commentators. We know much about contemporary European or American philosophers, but we don't know about "original" philosophers outside those area. I belive there are many around the world. But how to connect these unseen people?

Related article: "The Structure of the Inner Life of a Philosopher"

Photo: A cafe near my apartment

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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Comments

hy masahiro, very nice post. But also one that makes one sad. I also have strong belief in eastern philosophy, not because I am my own from iran, but because I find it less dogmatic. Western philosophy has become a dogma, the universities here in Germany appear to me like new churches, or what ever, there is always talk about Kant Hegel and so on, I am completely unable to understand them. I completely agree with you, how can we find these philosophers. I also do not know. I do not even know one name! that´s really sad, thankd arash

to understand life one has to go into depth in oriental philosophy. Why not read the chinese classic 'Tao Te Ching', especially the Richard Wilhelm edition which I found very illuminating. I also recommend the works of the great psychologist and philosopher Carl Jung.

I have read 'Tao Te Ching' and works of Jung and other Asian classic philosophies. Of course they are very illuminating. My question is: Where can we find current, contemporary original Asian philosophy?

haha. me too. im having some difficulty finding contemporary philosophers in the asian region, specifically Taiwan and China. since i am doing psuedo philosophy masters degree online which is an integrated program of many arts and humanities I would like to bring to my western online classmates some ideas about modern philosophy in the east. ive only come up with two name jung ze and confuscius. though Ive asked around and people have told me that each dynasty in china will have it own set of philosophers/ideologists. im not discouraged as Im going to keep probing
andy

I am not a student of philosophy as far as school goes. I am just a regular (joe). I believe to be a great philosopher ones has to integrate the beliefs of all cultures, so that we may become philosophers of man and not societies.

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