PHIL 104 ASIAN PHILOSOPHY
Dr. Bo Mou
Time & Place:
course presents an examination of some central ideas of Yijing (I Ching)
philosophy, Confucianism, philosophical Daoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen/Chan
Buddhism in Asian philosophical traditions. There are three emphases in our
examination. (1) We emphasize appreciation of distinct ways of thinking and
methodological approaches so as to develop a critical and balanced mind and to
cultivate a capacity to look at things from a broad and dynamic perspective. (2)
We emphasize appreciation of some representative and distinct ideas and visions
in Asian philosophy and their historical and cultural contexts in which they
changed and developed over time when facing internal and external
challenges/pressures so as to achieve new visions and perspectives and to expand
our understanding of the world and human life. (3) We take a comparative
approach by which those Asian philosophical thoughts will be constructively
compared with each other or with some thoughts in Western philosophy so as to
appreciate how they can distinctively, but jointly in a compatible way,
contribute to dealing with some philosophically important issues and concerns.
an Area V course in your General Education requirements, this course has three
learning objectives: first, it will enable students “to compare systematically
the ideas and values…from different societies” through a comparative
approach as emphasized in (3) above; second, it will enable students “to
identify the historic context of ideas and cultural practices in their dynamic
relations to other historical contexts” through the way as emphasized in (2)
above; third, it will enable students “to explain how a cultural changes in
response to internal and external pressures” through the way as emphasized in
(2) and (3) above.
course have four performance objectives: (1) to develop the ability to enter and
appreciate ways of thinking and perspectives that may be quite different from
what you have already had; (2) to achieve new visions and perspectives for
dealing philosophically with the important issues and values in the contemporary
multi-cultural world; (3) to enhance understanding of how Asian philosophical
traditions bear on Asian-American cultural traditions and American culture and
society; and (4) to improve the ability to read and think critically and
creatively and to write clearly and effectively.
of core GE, satisfaction of Writing Skills Test and upper division standing.
class discussion, and small group discussion.
Education courses require a minimum of 3000 words of writing, including in-class
and out-of-class assignments. Each student is thus required to write: (i) two
papers (total 8-10 typewritten double-spaced pages with 1 inch margin and font
size 12-- about 250 words each page),
(ii) in-class writings for the three examinations (equivalent to 4-5 pages
total), and (iii) one in-class philosophical writing exercise will involve 1 to
In-Class Philosophical Writing Exercise:
shall be assigned during the early phase of the semester. It serves for the
diagnostic purpose about the students’ levels of ability to think critically
and to write clearly and effectively.
first paper assignment is intended for the students to learn how to write
philosophy papers. Each student is required to select one philosophical article
either from the anthology volume Comparative Approaches to Chinese Philosophy
or from the journals Philosophy East and
West and International Philosophical
Quarterly in the last three years (2004, 2005 and 2006). (The two journals
are available at SJSU library) The topic of the chosen article must be directly
related to a certain Asian philosophical thought that is covered in the course.
The student needs to do the following critical analysis: (i) present the thesis
and its supporting argument(s) made by its author; (ii) give a
reflective/critical response to the thesis and argument(s); (iii) indicate what
has been learned through this scholarly exercise regarding, generally speaking,
how to write a philosophy paper. The first paper should be around 3 - 4 pages.
(If you choose an article from the two journal, then, when you submit the first
paper, please attach a copy of the article; the copy will be returned to you.)
· The second paper
This is the
main philosophical writing of each student. The topic will be assigned three
weeks before the due date. The paper should show use of library resources (e.g., books or journal articles)
through making at least two citations in the text and giving their full references
in endnotes. It should be around 5 – 6 pages.
to write philosophy papers, see “Some Suggestions for Writing Philosophy
Papers” in Course Package.
will be assessed for correctness, clarity and conciseness.
submitted papers need to be typed and double-spaced and are due in hard copy in
Academic Dishonesty: Plagiarism is wrong. Never turn in another person’s work as your own
and never present material taken directly from a book, journal or the Internet
without putting quote marks around it and giving an endnote crediting the
Both midterm and final exams will combine multiple choice, short answer questions and essay questions except that students will have two hours to complete the final exam. The instructor will supply a study guide a week before each of the exams.
Late Papers and Missed Assignments
Papers that are one class session late will be demoted 5%; papers that are later will receive a 10% cut. Exceptions are made if you have a doctor’s note or if you have been given a prior extension. Students who miss a mid-term will need a serious excuse (e.g., a doctor’s note) and to schedule a make-up exam.
The student’s active class participation consists
of the following: (i) Attending scheduled classes regularly (two bonus points
will be given for perfect attendance; one bonus point will be given for
only-one-class-missing attendance); (ii) Asking questions in class or
volunteering answers to philosophical questions raised by classmates or
instructors; (iii) Being active in group discussions; and (iv) earnestly
finishing mini in-class presentation assignments and a master in-class
presentation at “Discussion Forum” on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5.
Help from Mike Schmidt Philosophy Center
You are encouraged to
visit Mike Schmidt Philosophy Center (FO 231; 924-4466) where graduate students of
philosophy on duty shall be glad to help you with advice about philosophical
writings (criticism and construction of arguments and explanation). You can
bring in your philosophical writings for comments before you submit them.