Beyond monolingualism: philosophy as translation and the understanding of other cultures

Ethics and Education 4 (2):131-139 (2010)
Abstract
Beyond a monolingual mentality and beyond the language that is typically observed in the prevalent discourse of education for understanding other cultures, this article tries to present another approach: Stanley Cavell's idea of philosophy as translation . This Cavellian approach shows that understanding foreign cultures involves a relation to other cultures already within one's native culture. Foreshadowing the Cavellian sense of tragedy, Emerson's 'Devil's child' helps us detect the sources of repression and blindness that are hidden behind the foundationalist approach to other cultures. The child represents the human condition in which the self and language are simultaneously in the process of translation. On the strength of this I propose a possibility of understanding other cultures that is crucially related to language education, one that can point us beyond monolingualism . Cavell's view of language and the self envisions a way of releasing, not repressing, the desire to express one's inner light as a crucial source of the revival of one's native culture from within, while at the same time cultivating an eye for the other, the stranger, who is already here within oneself. This is to find alterity in the human condition in terms of the translation that is inherent to language and the immigrancy of the self
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Hamlet A. Gevorkian (2001). The Encounter of Cultures and the Philosophy of History. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:147-156.
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