Cover image for World philosophies
World philosophies
Smart, Ninian, 1927-2001.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 1999.
Physical Description:
vii, 454 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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B72 .S64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This is a collection of stories of philosophy and religion from around the world. The author discusses figures such as: Plato and Kierkega ard in the West; the Buddha and Mao Zedong in Asia; temples and Knibanga in Africa; and Rodo and Royce in America. It also includes ideas such as: Indian ideas of testimony and evidence; Chinese notions of moral development; Buddhist concepts of cosmology; and Latin American critiques of materialism.

Author Notes

Ninian Smart is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion and of Religious Studies at the Universities of California and Lancaster. His status as one of the world's foremost scholars in religious studies has been recognized by his election as President of the American Academy of Religion for the year 2000. He is the author of many acclaimed books

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Smart (The World's Religions, LJ 11/1/98) presents a narrative history arranged geographically. After an introductory outline chapter, the concepts that arose on the ancient subcontinent of India, in Chinese antiquity, and so on, are developed culture by culture and epoch by epoch. Smart weaves an explanation of religious developments among Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and Christians into nearly as thorough a tapestry as his presentation of secular thought. This seems wholly appropriate, given how religious ideas traditionally suffuse philosophical ones, but, in many cases, the author's interest in religious nuance downplays the distinction between religion and philosophy. Most troubling in this large and academic text is the complete lack of quotation and, too often, the absence of particular vocabulary developed by the philosophers and movements under discussion. The exhaustive chapter-by-chapter bibliographies range widely to include reference works, primary sources, and popular works. For academic collections.¬ĎFrancisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A pioneer of the field of religious studies, Smart (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) presents an overview of the historical development of the world's philosophies and religions. While he devotes three chapters to Greek, European, and North American philosophies, he has 11 dealing with Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Islamic, Jewish, South American, and African theologies and philosophies. He is particularly concerned with noting how concepts and theories of Western thinkers have parallels in Eastern thought. He focusses on the essential features of each view and is adept at delineating them in clear, nontechnical terms, but he assumes a wide background and vocabulary in his readers. An equally comprehensive work is David E. Cooper's World Philosophies: An Historical Introduction (CH, Apr'96), whose coverage is the opposite of Smart's--only a third of his text deals with non-Western thought. Most readers will turn to these books primarily for insight into non-Western thinking. They will do better to start with Cooper for an uncomplicated survey, then turn to Smart for a more detailed study of the various authors and schools. For larger collections. G. J. Dalcourt Seton Hall University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 The History of the World and Our Philosophical Inheritancep. 1
2 South Asian Philosophiesp. 12
3 Chinese Philosophiesp. 62
4 Korean Philosophiesp. 98
5 Japanese Philosophiesp. 106
6 Philosophies of Greece, Rome and the Near Eastp. 124
7 Islamic Philosophiesp. 158
8 Jewish Philosophiesp. 183
9 Europep. 197
10 North Americap. 274
11 Latin Americap. 289
12 Modern Islamp. 301
13 Modern South and South-East Asiap. 313
14 China, Korea and Japan in Modern Timesp. 331
15 African Philosophiesp. 344
16 Concluding Reflectionsp. 361
Bibliographyp. 373
Indexp. 439