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INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Chungmin Maria Tu
TIME and LOCATION: 2:30 – 3:30 MWF
Through a study of both (post)modern thinkers such as Nietzsche, Deleuze, and pre-Socratic thought, Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures, as well as ancient Chinese civilization/philosophy, this course aims to teach students the ancient worldviews of the East and West—worldviews that have shaped, amongst other things, diverse cultural values—to enhance students’ understanding of our time in relation to the ancient beliefs; and to help them explore a way of self-empowerment.
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The temporal framework of this course covers the entire human history, ranging from antiquity to postmodernity (our own time). On one hand, Plato, inspired by the pre-Socratic philosophers, established the dualism-based thought pattern, which grounded the overarching thought trajectory of the West and shaped western cultural values since antiquity. On the other hand, in the East the symbiotic Yin/Yang dynamics imbued Chinese mode of thought since Shang dynasty. To compare the western ancient thought with the ancient Chinese Way (Dao) through study of I Ching (the Book of Changes), Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, would help students understand both the resonance between East and West at the birth of their civilizations, and the resultant diverging paths undertaken in the process of their respective intellectual development. Paradoxically, the thought of Nietzsche and the postmodern thinker Gilles Deleuze, in a way, betokens the moment of rebirth of the western ancient thought. Students will also learn how the ancient Chinese worldviews give shape to the Chinese cultural values throughout Chinese history. In numerous discussion sessions and memos (homework) students will compare these Chinese values with the western values and apply them to their daily experiences.