A defense of universalism: With a critique of particularism in chinese culture [Book Review]

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (1):116-129 (2009)
Abstract
Universalism can be defined as the belief in the universal application of certain knowledge, world-views and value-views. Universalism has often been confused with Occident-centrism, due to the fact that the latter was used to justify the former, which confused the content of a thought with the social condition that gave rise to the thought. For many years, clarifications of this confusion have been made in sociology of knowledge, relativism and skepticism. Yet, the particularistic conclusion thus reached has led to more confusion, namely, that between the intrinsic criterion for truth and the practical application of thought. China, with its long tradition of Sino-centrism, has recently shown a movement towards particularism, characterized by a search for national and cultural superiority by “returning to the source”. In today’s academic circles, some particularist themes are taken for granted, and believed to be true, but cannot be proved with rational examination. The particularistic claims to the “self grounded”, “self-featured” and “self-located” tradition of Chinese culture jointed with the post-modernism, neo-leftist movement of anti-globalization in the West, are not only harmful in practice, but also impotent in theory. The propaganda against the hegemony of Western discourse should be analyzed with questioning which hegemony and whose discourse.
Keywords Occident-centralism  Sino-centralism  essentialism  universalism  particularism  cultural chauvinism  globalization  西方中心论  华夏中心论  本质主义  普遍主义  特殊主义  文化本位  全球化
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