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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the many important differences in the thinking styles between Chinese and European North Americans (Americans and Canadians of European descent), as Chinese thought processes have always been difficult to comprehend. That is why Westerners have expressed serious curiosity about and appreciation of the philosophical endeavours of the Chinese and the cognitive strategies they use for everyday functioning. The term ‘thinking styles’ represents the ontological frameworks that people use intuitively to make sense of their social world. It describes how Chinese favor a more holistic framework in processing information, whereas European North Americans rely on a more analytical framework that emphasizes the use of formal logic and one-to-one relationships. It further elaborates the concept of zhong yong, or the doctrine of the mean, a concept central to understanding Chinese thinking, which encapsulates the virtues of pursuing the middle ground.

Keywords: thinking style, European North Americans, zhong yong, cultural differences, one-to-one relationships

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