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Compare and contrast the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle with Confucius in China and the Buddha in South Asia. What was similar and what was different in their proposals for creating a better world?

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Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To begin, it's worth noting that there is a somewhat quasi-mythical quality in play within all three of these traditions. The living person of Socrates has largely disappeared within the popular image of Socrates, as the philosopher questioning people in the marketplace, and later as a martyr to philosophy. Likewise, the Buddha and Confucius exist at a similar distance, where what they have inspired (as well as the myths and stories created around them) have eclipsed the historical reality of their lives.

In terms of similarities, I think earlier contributors were right when they stressed the importance of duties and obligations (I'd suggest that ethics, spoken more broadly, was key to all three traditions). Additionally, it's worth noting that life in moderation (while avoiding the excesses of asceticism on one side and self indulgence on the other) are key themes in all three traditions.

However, even if we hold that ethics are a key component to all traditions, distinctions can be...

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Deborah Sheldon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Deborah Sheldon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write934 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial