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Philosophy of The Self: Western Science and Eastern Karma

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The study of philosophy of the self is divided into two view, the western and the eastern. Each has its own way of determining the frame of reference, beliefs, source of knowledge, ways of pursuing a good life, mode of cognition, true nature, view of self, life and universe, the theological view, ideal of self and cultural framework. This “Philosophy of the self” essay examines both views with a purpose to better undertand the difference between the western and the eastern philosophies of the self.

The first philosophical view is the Western. Based on the video, it discussed that western deals with individualism. It focuses only about the self’s distinctions and opposition. With the previous discussions, western perceptions are the thoughts that we believe who we are personally as an individual. We define ourselves scientifically. I know myself as a woman or a girl while others may define themselves as man, gay, or lesbian. With knowing what is your gender makes us different from others. Another thing that point out our differences to each other is our experiences in daily life in which, molded our own perceptions in everything. It means, we have our own source of knowledge. 

Meanwhile, Eastern is the other philosopical view of the self. Eastern thoughts believes in the form of developing self with involve of relationships or religions. Buddhism, one of the most influencial secular beliefs that says, there is no self and there is only nothing, all else is an illusion. They believe that man can attain perfect enlightenment. According to them, human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana. Thinking about it, Buddhism is not actually into God or does not believe in everlasting soul unlike other religions. They believe that there is no permanent self because there is no unchanging permanent of soul. I agree, since I also believe that change is the only permanent in this world. Life is not constant, it goes on and on. As myself, I change every second, I grow up and develop myself and this explain the reality. We can’t say that this is me, I am like this or that without changing it in the future. Another religion of Eastern is the Hinduism in which, they believe in reincarnation of life. I am not really a believer of reincarnation or rebirth. The ability to die and comeback to life, seems deny the afterlife. In relation to reincarnated is the karma. Karma is the connotation of causality that past actions influence future events. I believe that there are good and bad karma. If a person is mean towards others, they will not treat that person well in return, making that person less happy. Karma for me is like a reminder to do good things so that we can live happy life with no regrets. Same goes with the golden rule of Confucianism. The principle of reciprocity as stated, ‘Do not do unto others, you do not want do unto you.’, is my motto in life. I must say that it is truly a good model of principle in diciplinary behavior of human. Putting ourselves in the same position is a realization. No matter what happen.

In conclusion, there are two ways of viewing the self according to the philosophy. The first that we’ve discussed was the Western, the second – the Eastern. Both have similarities and differences that have shaped our worldviews in dependance where we’re born. The concept of the two philosophy provides explanation of the existence of a human self.

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Philosophy of the Self: Western Science and Eastern Karma. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
“Philosophy of the Self: Western Science and Eastern Karma.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
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