Western Philosophy vs Chinese Philosophy

Crucial question for Western Philosophy:

“What is the truth?” i.e. how to look before you leap.

Crucial question for Chinese Philosophy:

“Where is the Way?” i.e. how to leap without looking.

via A.C. Graham on page 3 of the ‘Disputers of the Tao’ who notes that

the crucial question for [Chinese philosophers] is not the Western philosopher’s ‘What is the truth?’ but ‘Where is the Way?’

Democracy in Chinese Philosophy

From A.C. Graham’s magisterial work ‘Disputers of the Tao’ (emphasis mine):

No one questions that government is by nature authoritarian; if an alternative is seen to rule by legitimate force it is the abolition or minimisation of government, leaving people to organise their affairs by custom. There are theoretical anarchists in ancient China, but no democrats.

The Common Origin of the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition and Shu-Ha-Ri

The similarity between the concept of Shu-Ha-Ri and the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition is well known. Both focus on a common theme – as one moves from being a novice at an activity to being an expert, the role of rules and algorithms in guiding our actions diminishes. They are instead replaced with an intuitive tacit understanding.

What is less commonly known is their common origin in the Chinese philosophical tradition of Taoism.  Hubert Dreyfus was deeply influenced by the work of Martin Heidegger who in turn was deeply influenced by Lao-Tzu. Shu-Ha-Ri is of course intimately connected with Zen Buddhism which is grounded in Taoist philosophy.

Laozi against the Computational Theory of Mind

The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao.”