Asian Philosophy Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1067 Words
Date:  2022-05-09

1) This is a paper on Asian philosophy. It discusses the comparison between the Yin-Yang way of thinking and the Hegelian model. It also entails the Zhuang Zi's methodological vision. Of importance is how these models can be used in viewing different approaches to one issue in philosophy or in practical living.

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The Yin-Yang way of thinking and the Hegelian model both highlight the general existence of two mutually related contraries- the yin (thesis) and the yang (antithesis). The Yin represents the negative, passive and cold aspect of anything whereas the Yang represents the positive, active and warm force. The two are universal, fundamental, complementary, dynamic and in harmonious equilibrium. Insofar as both emphasize the interaction between the two contraries, the Yin-Yang way emphasizes cooperation within the thesis and antithesis while the Hegelian way emphasizes the opposition without the contraries. Cooperation within the thesis and antithesis means that increasing any aspect will weaken the other while insufficiency of one will lead to excessiveness of the other. For example, increasing the sun (Yang) would cause excessive heat and dehydration. Thus, there should be mutual control of the two. Additionally, cooperation means that one cannot exist without the other. For example, up (Yang) cannot exist without down (Yin). In the Hegelian model, the contraries oppose each other. This is explained in three basic steps- thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The thesis creates another entity, the antithesis and the two synthesize a conflict. This principle has been used by people in governments (thesis), who create a problem (antithesis), leading citizens to turn to them for solutions (synthesis). Consequently, they get more power.

As far as their emphasis on equilibrium is concerned, the Yin-Yang way strives to reach harmony through complementarity while the Hegelian way endeavors to reach synthesis without the thesis-antithesis through sublation. Complementarity means they are dependent on each other, support and supplement one another despite being opposing forces. Therefore, existence of only one entity will lead to the superabundance of the other. Thus, the interdependence between the forces will consequently bring harmony. The Hegelian approach views the forces as being antagonistic and in constant conflict. This creates a dire need for the synthesis of a solution. Thus, a resolution is made via the dialectical process of sublation. The key is to ignore what is unreasonable between the two parties and to consider what is valuable.

The Zhuang Zi's methodological vision is key to understanding the identity of things via examination. This is divided into two parts- the perspectivist part and the transcendental part. In the perspectivist part, one can take a finite and local perspective of something to identify an object; looking at its "this" aspect or its "that" aspect. These two aspects are dependent on each other. Understanding the perspectivist part requires a firm grasp of the transcendental part. The latter is used to look at the connection between various aspects. Moreover, it encourages the looking of things at a higher point of view, transcending the finite points of view thus the various aspects no longer exist as two independent forces but complementary. To sum up, Zhuang Zi understands that people normally take a finite perspective when it comes to matters affecting them. He however encourages a holistic view of various aspects. Only then can one realize the connection between various finite perspectives and the objectivity to one's aspects as being superior will cease to exist.

2) A practical scenario of how people may have different approaches on the same issue is seen with the three Daoist thinker's views on life and death. The three are Yang Zhu, Lao Zi, and Zhuang Zi. The former two have a fixed perspective while Zhuang Zi discusses the need of a holistic view. Yang Zhu's approach to life and death is pessimistic. He believes that one hundred years is the limit of a long life though only a handful of people attain it. Sadly, sickness, pain, sorrow, suffering and death of relatives takes almost half of the time of people who live this long. He sees no need for life- "what is life for? What pleasure is there?" Surprisingly, he does not see the need for music and sex that come with life. He laments of the time we waste, being concerned with what is right or wrong. Therefore, he does not see a difference between living and being held in prison. In his philosophy of death, he agrees with the search for happiness, but feels that one should neither shorten nor unnecessarily increase their lifespan. Additionally, he feels that death is as natural as life and should not be viewed with fear. Lastly, he believes that funeral ceremonies are no worth to the deceased.

For Lao Zi, the Dao is the nameless beginning of all things, before heaven and earth. Therefore, the Dao is basic to everything and nothing is absolute without it. For Lao Zi, capturing the Dao involves activities such as meditation. Indeed, capturing it evades danger and will not be affected by emotions such as joy or sorrow. For example, a man who has captures the Dao will not be angry when the rain prevents him from going out but a child will. In his approach to death, he believes that one who flows with the Dao will not really perish after death as his dao-following achievements would be remembered after physical death.

Zhuang Zi believes that one's happiness consist of their doing and what they feel like doing. However, true happiness is achieved through a higher understanding of things- the dao. Indeed, one can only acquire true freedom if they capture the dao and do not do things that go against it. The dao gives the freedom to fully and freely exercise one's true abilities. Regarding death, he believes that people should view it as a natural stage of the whole process of the universe and thus should not be feared. People should look at death with a holistic approach as fear of death is a major cause of unhappiness in life.


Jiang, X. (2013). Chinese Dialectical Thinking-the Yin Yang Model. Philosophy Compass,8(5), 438-446. doi:10.1111/phc3.12035

<a href="">The Hegelian Principle Helps Explain How the Powerful Got That Way</a>

Chan, Wing-Tsit. 1963. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton University Press.

Liu Wu-Chi, Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 8, Macmillan Inc. 1967.

Zi, L. (1993). Dao de jing. Lulu. com.

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