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PHIL11-106: Understanding East Asian Cultures September 2019 [Standard]

General information

Understanding East Asian culture – China, Japan, North and South Korea – is a crucial task for anyone planning on undertaking business in East Asia and for everyone who wants a deeper understanding of the region and its expanding significance in the world. The top two trading partners of Australia are China and Japan, and more than 50% of Australia’s exports flow to East Asia. To understand East Asian culture with depth, we explore the connection between its culture and philosophy and western culture and philosophy. The connection and balance between humans and nature has been an enduring focus of philosophical discussion in the major philosophical and religious traditions of the East Asian region: Confucianism, Daoism and Zen Buddhism. Questions of good and evil, of what makes us human, and how we can establish trust will guide us through a comparative study of East and West. Key ideas include happiness, relationships, respect and responsibility, trust and prosperity. We will explore how such values, reflected in two and half millennia of social, cultural, ethical and aesthetical discussion, can inspire creative solutions to contemporary problems. We will encounter ritual and revolution, the aesthetics of the tea ceremony and the culture of anime, the Confucian idea of joy through self-improvement and the control of over a billion people in China’s Social Credit system.



Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design: Humanities
Subject code:PHIL11-106
Subject title:Understanding East Asian Cultures
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:September 2019
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - No Description
  • Tutorial: x12 (Total hours: 12) - No Description
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - No Description


Prescribed resources:
  • Oxford World’s Classics (2008). Confucius: The Analects. Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Raymond Dawson
  • Okakura, Kakuzo (2016). he Book of Tea.. Penguin Little Black Classics
After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
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Enrolment requirements

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At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

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Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Identify basic teachings of East Asian philosophies and recognise their relationships to other cultures.
  2. Communicate philosophical ideas from a personal perspective in clear and structured academic writing and oral presentations
  3. Analyse, discuss and provide meaningful feedback to peers.
  4. Integrate East Asian cultural ideas with personal experience and apply them towards future professional goals


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
In-Class Quiz - Individual In-Class Quiz 20% Weekly 1, 2, 4.
Class Participation In class contribution 10% Weekly 1, 2, 3.
Oral Presentation The subject is concluded by a two-part Student Conference in which students present their work to their peers, discuss, and respond to feedback 30% Week 11 1, 2, 3, 4.
Essay Final Essay 40% Week 13 1, 2, 4.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

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For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Disability support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

Introducing East Asian traditions (Confucianism, Daoism, Zen Buddhism, Shintoism) and Modern East Asia: economy, society, ecology and art

Introducing major thinkers from East Asia: Confucius, Mencius, Xun Zi. Topics include whether human nature is “good” and China’s Social Credit System

Confucius’s concept: Xué (Learning for the self); Zen Buddhism, “Not-Knowing is most intimate”; Modern pop-culture and the externalized self; social withdrawal and hikkikomori

We consider a comparison between a western theory of the self – Plato’s tale “The Ring of Gyges” – and Confucius’s concepts of Rén (Humane) and Jūn Zǐ (the Gentleman). We use these discussions to consider contemporary challenges of human rights and climate change.

We compare a western perspective on love and happiness – the theories of the Greek philosopher Epicurus on Love and Happiness with Daoist ideas: Zhuāng Zǐ on joy, and love in the Confucian canon

We examine Confucius’s concept of Lǐ (Ritual-Propriety); Shintoism and the Japanese tea ceremony; the concepts of respect and reward.

We examine Confucius’s concept: Xiào (Filial Piety).What does “Filial Piety” really mean?

We compare trust in a western perspective (Thomas Hobbes) with Confucius’s concept: Xìn (Trust) and trust in business.

We compare the western concept of human rights as developed by John Locke with Confucius’s concept: Yì (righteousness) and discuss contemporary conflicts over human rights, such as those emerging from the Project of Three Gorges Dam in China and the Chinese response to climate change.

We compare the western concepts of enlightenment and the origins of morality, as expressed by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, with Confucius’s concept: Zhì (wisdom).

We examine the Confucian and Daoist concept of beauty (Měi) in ancient Chinese calligraphy, painting, music; the Japanese tea ceremony; and the paradox of Japanese suicide

Approved on: Jun 21, 2019. Edition: 4.0
Last updated: Feb 10, 2020.