This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Europe, the spread of Christianity through the Roman world marked the end of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Mediaeval Philosophy.
Schools of thought in the Hellenistic period
In the east, Indian philosophy begins with the Vedas where questions related to laws of nature, the origin of the universe and the place of man in it are asked. In the famous Rigvedic Hymn of Creation the poet says:
"Whence all creation had its origin, he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows--or maybe even he does not know."
In the Vedic view, creation is ascribed to the self-consciousness of the primeval being (Purusha). This leads to the inquiry into the one being that underlies the diversity of empirical phenomena and the origin of all things. Cosmic order is termed rta and causal law by karma. Nature (prakriti) is taken to have three qualities (sattva, rajas, and tamas).
Classical Indian philosophy
In classical times, these inquiries were systematized in six schools of philosophy. The questions asked were:
- What is the ontological nature of consciousness?
- How is cognition itself experienced?
- Is mind (chit) intentional or not?
- Does cognition have its own structure?
The six schools of Indian philosophy are:
In China, less emphasis was put upon materialism as a basis for reflecting upon the world and more on conduct, manners and social behaviour, as evidenced by Taoism and Confucianism.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04