Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Description: This course will introduce students to some of the major philosophical and religious teachings from Asia that have existed from ancient times to the present. Representative material will be drawn especially from Indian (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sufi, Sikh), Chinese (Daoist, Confucian, Buddhist), and Japanese (Zen, Shinto) schools of thought. Readings will consist largely of primary materials translated into English. The main focus of the course will be to highlight the central philosophical concepts and to ask how these ideas contribute to their respective world-views and ethical outlooks, and how they affect the religious expressions of these cultures. Asian 220 will give you the tools to think critically about the diversity of philosophical and religious traditions and ideas that exist in Asia. Students will also gain an understanding of how these philosophical ideas have been influential in shaping the religious cultures of much of Asia. The course also serves as a general introduction to philosophical thinking on a number of profound philosophical questions. What is the nature of the self? What is really real? What happens after death? What is the relationship between the individual and society? The course also aims to develop the student’s skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking.