Philosophy 336                                  Michael KaganAsian Philosophy                                Office Hours in RH-422 Spring 1997                                     TTH 1:15-2:00 PMCampus: 445-4489                                 and by appointment.

I hope this course will help us deepen our appreciation and understandingof some Asian philosophies. Of central concern will be the issue of thenature and existence of a basic human problematic. Other questions willbe "how do these philosophies challenge us to deal with these fundamentalproblems of living? What do they offer us that can help improve our lives?"We will also be concerned with other philosophical problems that arisein connection with these questions.


Requirements include regular attendance and participation, presentationson sub-topics as scheduled below, and preparation and presentation of somesignificant project to be agreed upon in advance.
Such a project might involve further investigating and perhaps attemptingto practice an Asian philosophical religious discipline or subdiscipline(e.g., yoga, aikido, Tai Chi, calligraphy) and reporting on the resultof this investigation. Or a student might write a philosophical essay aboutsome issue of philosophical interest raised by his or her study of AsianPhilosophy. Some students may wish to express their understanding throughpresentations in different modes and media. Possibilities include a creativeliterary work of the student's own [e.g., a journal, a short story, firstchapter of a novel, first act of a play or dialogue & c.], or a philosophicalanalysis of some issue present in one of the works we studied, detailingthe position[s] set forth in the work, and developing and defending one'sown philosophical response.


Grades will be based on completion of the requirements:
One fourth is based on participation (this will include occasional in-classwriting work and group work); one fourth is based on sub-topic presentation(s);one fourth is based on the project presentation.
One fourth is based on the project turned in to the instructor.
Extremely poor attendance (more than 5 misses) or failure to complete anyof the requirements can result in a failing grade, whether the course istaken for credit, or pass/fail. Please let me know if special considerationsapply.


Wing-Tsit Chan (translator and compiler), A Sourcebook in ChinesePhilosophy, Princeton University Press, 1963. [This book is referredto below as CP.]

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore (eds.), A Sourcebookin Indian Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 1957. [This bookis referred to below as IP.]

Huston Smith's, The World's Religions, HarperSanFranciso: 1991.[WR or Smith]]

Daisetz T. Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture, Princeton UniversityPress Bollingen Series LXIV, 1959. [This book is referred to below as ZC.]

Alan W. Watts, The Way of Zen, Random House Vintage Books, 1957.[Z or Watts]


Students may be interested in other readings. A list of some of thesefollows. These books are available either in the library or my office:

Robert O. Ballou (ed.), The Portable World Bible, Penguin Books.

Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, The Free Press, 1973.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, second ed.,Princeton University Press, 1968.

Hermann Hesse, The Journey to the East, translated by Hilda Rosner,The Noonday Press, 1956.

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, translated by Hilda Rosner, New Directions,1951.

John M. Koller, Oriental Philosophies, 2d ed., Scribner's, 1985.

Miyamoto Musashi. A Book of Five Rings, translated by VictorHarris, The Overlook Press, 1974.

Huston Smith, The Religions of Man, Harper & Row PerennialLibrary edition, 1965. [RM]

Sun Tzu. The Art of War, edited with a forward by James Clavell,Delacourte Press, 1983.


First Class: Jan 21, No Classes Feb. 15-18,

No Classes March 24-31

Project Proposals Due: Tuesday, March 11

Written Projects Due: Thurs., April 17.

Last Class:--May 6.


All students are expected to do all readings and to share their understandingwith one another in class discussions and by leading their own and participatingin other students' presentations on the various sub-topics.

Student presentations on sub-topics begin the fourth week of class, andwill be scheduled during the first week. The nine subtopics will be dividedup into student groups whose size will be determined by the class sizeand the class members' preferences.

Remember: You have less than an hour to present on your sub-topic.Focus on the aspects your group finds most interesting and important. Donot try to cover everything. Your presentation will be improved if youmake it easier for others to participate. (Please try to help others' presentationsby participating!)

Please feel free to meet with me to discuss your presentations. If youdon't find me on campus, feel free to call me at home (637-0349) before8:00 PM.



Week #1. (of Jan. 21). Introduction. Read Huston Smith'sreconstruction of Indian Philosophy. Readthe Bhagavad-Gita in IP (pp. 101-163).
Week #2 (of Jan. 28). Group work on the Bhagavad-Gita. The fouraims--read The Laws of Manu (IP, pp. 172-192).
Week #3. (of Feb. 4). HINDU SYSTEMS. .Lecture on Nyaya (IP,Ch. X (pp. 356-385)).
*SP#1 Student Presentation #1* STUDENTS PRESENT on yogaFebruary6; group work on yoga.
Week #4.(of Feb. 11)
*SP#2 *Feb. 11, STUDENTS PRESENT on Vedanta (make sure to have readIP, ch. XV (pp. 506-573). Feb. 13, in-class writingon Vedanta. HETERODOX SYSTEMS: February 13, lecture on Caravaka. (Makesure to have read IP, ch VII, pp. 227-249.
*SP#3*Week #5.--Feb. 20. --HETERODOX SYSTEMS CONTINUED--Feb. 20, STUDENTSPRESENT on Jainism (make sure to have read IP, pp. 250-271).

Week #6.-
*SP#4*Feb. 25, STUDENTS PRESENT on Indian Buddhism (make sure tohave read Smith on Buddhism and IP, ch. IX,pp. 272-346. Feb. 27, in-class focused reading of Buddhist texts in IP;group work on classical Buddhism and the issue of authority.


Week #7.-- Mar. 4, 6--Confucianism-read Smith on Confucianism andCP, Chs. 2-5, pp. 14-135.
*SP#5* Mar. 4, STUDENTS PRESENT on Confucianism. Mar 6, in-classfocused reading of Confucian texts.
*SP#6.*--Mar. 6--STUDENTS PRESENT on Taoism (make sure to have readSmith on Taoism and CP, Chs. 7-8, pp 136-210; ).
Week #8 March 11th & 13th in-class focused reading of Lau Tzu &Chuang Tzu. Project Proposals Due: Tuesday, March 11
Week #9.--Mar.18, 20. Yin-Yang School, Legalism, and the Philosophyof Change. Read CP, Chs. 11-13, pp. 244-270.


*Week #9 (continued)--

*SP#7*March 20, STUDENTS PRESENT on Zen/Ch'an. Read Watts' book;read "The Zen (Ch'an) School of Sudden Enlightenment," (ch, 26,CP, pp. 425-449). REMEMBER TO FINISH READING ZEN AND JAPANESE CULTUREDURING BREAK. (No Classes March 24-31 )

Week #10.--April 1, 3--April1, group work on Chinese philosophy; scheduling of project presentations.

*SP#8* April 3, --ZEN AND JAPANESE CULTURE. Make sure to have read ZC,Chs. I-VI. STUDENTS PRESENT on Zen and the martial arts (ZC, ChsIV-VI).
*Week #11.-
*SP#9* Apr. 8, STUDENTS PRESENT on Haiku and Tea (ZC, Chs. VII-X,pp. 215-328.


Week #11.-- Apr.10.-- Student project presentations begin.
Week #12.-- Apr. . 15, 17--.-Student project presentations continue. WrittenProjects Due: Thurs., April 17.
Week #13.-Apr. 22, 24--Student project presentations continue
Week #14.-- Apr. 29, May 1--STUDENT EVALUATIONS, APRIL 29. Student projectpresentations continue.

Note for users of printed copy: You can find an on-line version of thissyllabus and other course material on my homepage (
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