Change, Contradiction, and Overconfidence: Chinese Philosophy and Cognitive Peculiarities of Asians

Seok, Bongrae
September 2007
Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy;Sep2007, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p221
Academic Journal
This article discusses philosophical influence, especially the influence made by Confucianism and Daoism, on the way Asian people see and understand the world. Recently, Richard Nisbett drew a connection between Chinese philosophy (Confucianism and Daoism) and the cognitive profiles of the people who live in Asian countries where Confucianism and Daoism are strong social and cultural traditions. He argues that there is a peculiar way that Asians think and perceive things and this cognitive pattern is influenced by a group of principles derived from Chinese philosophy. This article critically analyzes Nisbett's explanation, his emphasis on the principle of change in particular, and provides an alternative explanation of the connection between Chinese philosophy and cognitive peculiarities of Asians. Asians combine and integrate opposite viewpoints not because they believe that things change in all unexpected directions, but because they see the world as a big system with interrelated and mutually influencing components.


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