Chapter

The Axial Age and the Classical Style of Thought

Michael Horace Barnes

in Stages of Thought

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780195396270
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852482 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396270.003.0006
The Axial Age and the Classical Style of Thought

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This chapter surveys the axial periods of India, China, and Greece. The primitive and archaic styles of thought continue as a significant part of electronic cultures today. To describe the axial transformation, the discussion in this chapter reviews three aspects of cognitive style—content of belief, mode of expression, and style of thought—in classical China, India, and Greece. These three cultures remained quite distinct from each other. Greece pursued issues of logic further than the other two. India achieved a greater unanimity on the metaphysical structures of existence than the other two. China kept more archaic habits of thought than the other two. Yet all three manifested a new interest in universalizing thought, in seeking an Ultimate, in analyzing language use.

Keywords: India; China; ancient Greece; classical culture; axial age; universalism

Chapter.  9207 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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