Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Ontology: Reductionism

Ontology is the philosophical discipline concerned with questions of existence: What actually exists?  How does it exist?*

One of the most important distinctions in ontology is the distinction between reductionism and holism.  These are both relatively recently-coined terms, but the distinction has been there since the beginning of Eurasian philosophy, and it's pretty important to get it right.  (It's much more complicated than the way I'm presenting it here, but this is a simple summary.)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review: 'A History of Myanmar Since Ancient Times', by Michael and Maitrii Aung-Thwin

Although I am relatively new to Burmese history and historiography, I like to think I know a fair amount about southeast Asia as a whole.  As such, I feel confident enough to take a break from epistemology to review the book I've just been reading, A History of Myanmar Since Ancient Times, by historians Michael Aung-Thwin and Maitrii Aung-Thwin (2012, London: Reaktion Books).  The book deals with the history of Myanmar from 40,000 BCE to the present in a little under three hundred pages, but I am only concerned with the first 140 pages or so - from the arrival of H. erectus to the declines of Ava (Inwa) and Pegu in the early sixteenth century (while I find the recent history of Myanmar interesting, my purpose in reading the book was to gain an understanding of prehistoric and ancient times).