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Eastern philosophies of education

buddhist, hindu, daoist, and confucian readings of Plato's cave

David Lewin , Oren Ergas

pp. 479-497

This chapter provides readers with an understanding of some basic principles of selected Eastern traditions and their relation to philosophy of education. The attempt to characterize such diverse traditions and understandings of education raises numerous hermeneutical issues which can only be addressed through a pedagogical reduction as a vehicle for understanding. In this case, we have employed Plato's cave allegory as that methodological and pedagogical vehicle. We explore aspects of the ontology, epistemology, and ethics of Buddhist, Hindu (focused on classical yoga), Daoist, and Confucian traditions, interpreting elements from Plato's allegory in order to throw light onto the educational ideas and implications of those Eastern traditions. The chapter begins with an account of Plato's cave and its general themes that are relevant to interpreting educational theories. We then move into an examination of the particular ideas and practices that reveal pedagogical concerns within the four traditions, attempting to show how these ideas can be interpreted with (and against) Plato's cave. We conclude the chapter by pointing to some themes and commonalities that might merit the term "Eastern philosophy of education'. We ask whether the cave is suggestive of a state of illusion or ignorance and whether what is at stake is both epistemological and ontological. We suggest that the analytical distinction between knowing and being becomes questionable, even untenable, as the ethical and philosophical concerns are interwoven by Eastern traditions in rich and complex ways.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-72761-5_40

Full citation:

Lewin, D. , Ergas, O. (2018)., Eastern philosophies of education: buddhist, hindu, daoist, and confucian readings of Plato's cave, in P. Smeyers (ed.), International handbook of philosophy of education, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 479-497.

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