Asian and Comparative Philosophy

Subject PHIL30050 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Thirty two contact hours per semester: two 1-hour lectures per week for the first 11 weeks and a 1-hour tutorial per week beginning the third week of semester
Total Time Commitment: An average of 8.5 hours each week.
Prerequisites: One single-semester first-year philosophy or Asian studies subject (in consultation with the lecturers) or permission from the Subject Coordinator.
Corequisites: none.
Recommended Background Knowledge: As per prerequisites.
Non Allowed Subjects: This subject was previously available at level 2 with the code 161-221. Students who have completed 161-221 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Dr Guy Petterson


Subject Overview:

This subject is an introduction to central aspects of Asian philosophy, especially the philosophical traditions of India, China and Japan. Students can expect to engage with the basic elements of the philosophical thought of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Zen. The course will also examine Asian philosophical commentarial traditions and comparisons between Asian and Continental philosophy.


Students who successfully complete this subject will

  • be introduced to some of the central philosophical ideas and principles of the Asian/Eastern traditions, with a particular focus on Indian, Chinese and Japanese traditions.
  • have developed a critical understanding of the ways in which Asian thinkers have responded to problems in metaphysics, theories of knowledge and ethical thought.
  • be able to undertake independent inquiry in any of the Asian traditions covered, or comparatively, on any specific problem in philosophy and religion.
Assessment: A written assignment of 2000 words 50% (due mid-semester), a 2-hour closed-book written examination 47% (held at the end of semester) and tutorial participation 3%.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available from the bookshop at the start of semester.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to bring philosophical skills to bear upon their studies in other disciplines.
  • have improved their ability to engage with complex texts.
  • develop skill in the critique of arguments.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Philosophy
Philosophy Major
Philosophy and Social Theory

Download PDF version.