Comparative World Philosophies Final

24Nov99

This paper will discuss three philosophical writings, one each from the Indian, Western, and Chinese traditions, each one dealing with our views of our selves. The first piece, Sri Aurobindo’s The Reincarnating Soul, is representative of Indian philosophy and gives us a discussion of the human soul and its relationship to the universe. The second piece representative of Western philosophy is an excerpt of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism, which discusses ideas of atheism and self-determinism. Finally, I will use a summarization of Mencius’ Human Nature is Good to represent Chinese philosophy that ascribes human nature to man, and not a heavenly being.

I will begin by summarizing the three pieces, in the above-mentioned order, then discuss similarities and differences between the pieces and their implications to society. As stated before, all pieces deal with our views of our selves—but they also carry implications about the role of the individual in society or in the universe. While looking at the ideas of these essays on an individual level I can find points of personal disagreement, taking all three together does have considerable value to life. If anything, they should encourage us all to be a little less selfish in our manners.

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