Historically and in general, what have Eastern and Western philosophies considered "reliable" sources of knowledge? Where do they tend to converge or diverge in this matter?

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    JTB is “traditional” answer — can you tell us a little bit about what your research might have uncovered so far?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 18:39
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    This can be a difficult to answer as the question is oversimplified and needs very long answers. Philosophy in the East for the most part is not separate from what is considered religion in the West and vice-versa (at least contemporaneously in the West). You might consider asking instead what are the differences in their reasoning and logic and modes of argumentation...there's an older book (1978) which is a good source. "Philosophy East/Philosophy West: A Critical Comparison of Indian, Chinese, Islamic, and European Philosophy" (5 authors, first 2 are Ben-Ami Scharfstein and Ilai Alon) Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 7:33
  • What prompted the question was a statement by the author of "Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis" that in some types of Indian thought (Buddhism included), inferences made based on 'supersensory perception' (abhiññā) were considered valid. E.g. The Buddha being able to perceive the workings of the law of Karma in this manner. I'm just wondering if there is a way to quantify just what are valid ways of "knowing" in both traditions.
    – user15299
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 15:28
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    Big topic. Briefly, Eastern philosophy considers knowledge to be valid where it is really is Knowledge. Western philosophy denies the possibility of knowing and gives priority to (or makes do with) theoretical or relative knowledge. Here the upper-case 'K' would indicate direct knowledge of Reality acquired in experience or by transcending experience. This is 'supersensory' in that it cannot be acquired by sensory means since it transcends the information available to our senses, which is limited to the mundane world.
    – user20253
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 14:48
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    I thought we covered this on philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/49458/… Generalising like this about Eastern & Western is orientalising. Both cultures have turned to all sorts of sources, with different thinkers, in different eras, in different contexts. I have made my case in that previous thread.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


'East' https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pramana

'West' https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/#SOU

I covered the law of karma in the previous thread, as see it as an intuition of the interdependence now expressed by ecology, and more true than the 'intellectual Robinson Crusoeism' that prevailed in Western philosophy until very recent times.

Do by all means list specific cases in Buddhist thought where knowledge seems to justified by 'ESP', which seems to be your actual conxetn

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