Beyond the boundaries: critical thinking and differing cultural perspectives

Ethics and Education 4 (2):189-200 (2010)
After outlining arguments for the general epistemological presumption in favour of taking into consideration alternative perspectives from other cultures, the article details several examples in which such an examination yields epistemic benefits and challenges. First, our example of alternative conceptions of art demonstrates that a western conception of art as disinterested contemplation cannot be accepted as a general characterization in that it does not adequately characterize the practice of many traditional societies. Second, the case of aboriginal justice reveals assumptions embedded in the North American criminal justice system regarding justice as fairness, and suggests an alternative based on restorative justice. The third example is from Traditional Chinese medicine. While alternative herbal remedies can be tested according to shared standards of health improvement, practices such as acupuncture are more epistemologically challenging in that they cannot readily be explained by current scientific theories. The final example deals with the failed attempts to replace the traditional Balinese agricultural methods with modern farming practices, and shows how the traditional methods yielded practical insights which were ignored by western experts because of their spiritual origins. Finally, the article attempts to extract some general considerations from the above examination
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DOI 10.1080/17449640903326805
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