Education About Asia: Online Archives

Aesthetics in Asia: Bridging Logic and Language

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With funding provided by a grant from the US Department of Education, I was able to design a course for the San Diego State University Center for (now Department of) Asian Studies.1 Initially the course, East Asian Philosophies: Logic and Language, focused on China, Korea, and Japan. A textbook of primary and secondary readings was compiled, to which I added an introduction and background materials.
Subsequently, both the course contents and the text were expanded to include India, Tibet, and Vietnam, as well as Mah¯ay¯ana Buddhism. The revised course title, Asian Philosophies: Logic, Language, and Aesthetics, reflects this expansion. The key role played by the arts in Asia as the connecting link between logic and language became increasingly apparent as I taught the class. The arts, in various manifestations, reflect cultural assumptions about order inherent in forms of logic, language, and philosophy. Accordingly, each chapter of the text provides a discussion of the aesthetics underlying the culture or topic addressed. A contemporary connection was forged through discussions of science, the primary arbiter of order in today’s world, and the scientist’s obsession with beauty.2