In this essay, we present a theory of intercultural philosophical dialogue and comparative philosophy, drawing on both hermeneutics and analytic philosophy. We advocate the approach of “de-essentialization” across the board. It is true that similarities and differences are always to be observed across languages and traditions, but there exist no immutable cores or essences. “De-essentialization” applies to all “levels” of concepts: everyday notions such as green and qing 青, philosophical concepts such as emotion(s) and qing 情, and philosophical categories (...) such as forms of life and dao 道. We argue that interpretation is a holistic multi-directional process constrained by the principle of mutual attunement. It is necessary to assume that “the other” is a human being, who, in most cases, is consistent and stating that which is true or right. This is the condition of possibility for intercultural philosophical dialogue and comparative philosophy. No more necessary conditions are needed. There is no need to presuppose concepts or categories that are universal for all humans and their languages (such as emotion(s) and qing 情). (shrink)
In June of 2008, the International Society for Comparative Studies of Chinese and Western Philosophy (ISCWP) convened its third Constructive Engagement conference, on the theme of “Comparative Philosophy Methodology.” During the opening speeches, Prof. Dunhua ZHAO, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Peking University, challenged the conference’s participants to put forward a minimal definition of “comparative philosophy” and a statement of its methods. Based on the papers from the conference and the extensive discussion that ensued, during my (...) closing reflections at the end of the conference I offered a tentative synthesis of the conference’s conclusions. That summary has already been published on-line as part of the bi-annual ISCWP newsletter (Angle 2008). In this brief essay, I recapitulate the themes of my earlier summary and expand, in my own voice, on some of the key points. (shrink)
In this journal theme introduction, first, I explain how comparative philosophy as explored in the journal Comparative Philosophy is understood and how it is intrinsically related to the constructive engagement strategy. Second, to characterize more clearly and accurately some related methodological points of the constructive-engagement strategy, and also to explain how constructive engagement is possible, I introduce some needed conceptual and explanatory resources and a meta-methodological framework and endeavor to identify adequacy conditions for methodological guiding principles in (...) class='Hi'>comparative studies. Third, as a case analysis, I show how the constructive-engagement reflective practice bears on recent studies of Chinese and comparative Chinese-Western philosophy, especially in the past decade, for two purposes: to illustrate the foregoing theoretic characterization of the constructive engagement strategy, and to identify and explain some constructive morals that might have general significance for comparative studies. (shrink)
Even as dismissive of pursuing Comparative Philosophy for achieving East-West synthesis in philosophy, the author maintains the need for “open philosophizing.” “Open philosophizing” is one characterized by dialogical openness to culturally diverse philosophical traditions and thought-patterns.
Abstract: Comparative political philosophy can be stimulated by imposing a categorization scheme on possible varieties of political philosophies. This article develops a categorization scheme using four essential features of political philosophies, resulting in twelve archetypal political philosophies. The four essential features selected are a political philosophy's views concerning human nature, the proper function of morality, the best form of society, and the highest responsibility of citizenship. The twelve archetypal political philosophies range from the communal (Rousseau), the democratic (J. S. (...) Mill), the representative (Aristotle), the aristocratic (Plato), and the autocratic (Calvin), along with seven more archetypes: the aloof anarchy, social anarchy, contractarian, progressive, natural law, sage ruler, and tyrannical political forms. A wide variety of Western political philosophers are assigned their places within this categorization scheme to illustrate its utility and comprehensiveness. (shrink)
This essay explores some of the affinities between current theories of North American Indigenous trickster narratives and continental philosophy where they are both concerned with the question of responsibility in subject formations. Taking up the work of Judith Butler, Franz Kafka and Gerald Vizenor, the author works to show how both continental and Indigenous intellectual traditions work against any assumed stability for the ‘I’ in the narration of the self, yet toward responsible relationality. Such affinities, however, emerge from differing socio-cultural (...) and linguistic horizons that are not reducible one to the other. This is particularly so with regard to the natural world and the ways in which Indigenous narratives are developed to foster responsible subjects to a larger biotic environment. Through discussion of such affinities and differences, the author seeks to broaden and multiculturalize contemporary debates in philosophy. (shrink)
Wesley Wildman is one of the foremost philosophers of religion calling for the evolution of the discipline from its present narrow focus on theistic beliefs to become a discipline concerned with religions in all their diversity. Towards this end, he proposes that philosophers of religion understand what they do as multidisciplinary comparative inquiry. This article assesses his proposal.
This paper argues that a comparative study of the idea of a sense of justice in the work of John Rawls and the early Chinese philosopher Kongzi is mutually beneficial to our understanding of the thought of both figures. It also aims to provide an example of the relevance of moral psychology for basic questions in political philosophy. The paper offers an analysis of Rawls’s account of a sense of justice and its place within his theory of justice, focusing (...) on the features of this capacity and how it develops. It then provides an account of the sense of justice in Kongzi’s thought as it is seen in the Analects. Finally, it shows how examining the similarities and differences between the two accounts can deepen our understanding of both views, as well as our appreciation for the importance of understanding how a sense of justice develops. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to outline a conceptual framework for a type of philosophy (or approach to philosophy) to be herein called “non-sentential philosophy.” Although I will primarily concern myself with the conceptual coherence of the framework in this essay, illustrations will be provided to show that the notion has rich implications for comparative studies. In particular, I believe this theoretical framework will be of interest to those looking for a way to capture the differences between certain (...) non-Western philosophical traditions—such as Chinese philosophy—and Western philosophy, a tradition in which the sentential approach is dominant. (shrink)
Bai, Tongdong 白彤東, New Mission of an Old State: Classical Confucian Political Philosophy in a Contemporary and Comparative Context 舊邦新命: 古今中西參考下的古典儒家政治哲學 Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9183-0 Authors Ellen Y. Zhang, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong Journal Dao Online ISSN 1569-7274 Print ISSN 1540-3009 Journal Volume Volume 9 Journal Issue Volume 9, Number 4.
Critical engagement involving philosophers trained in continental and analytic traditions often takes its purpose to be a reconciliation of tensions arising from differences in style, or method. Critical engagement in Africana philosophy, however, is rarely focused on method, style, or orientation because philosophic research in this field, regardless of orientation, has had to accommodate its empirical grounding in disciplines outside of philosophy. I focus primarily on the comparative dimensions of three important strands of this research: (1) a history of (...) ideas, (2) a problem-orientation, and (3) a sub-area specialization, to indicate why a need to reconcile tensions between continental and analytic orientations has very little currency in Africana philosophy. Socio-economic problems faced by African-descended people require multiple perspectives to accommodate the wide variety of diasporic social contexts for a given proposal. I employ a selection of cases to illustrate how Africana philosophy benefits from an interplay of many intersecting factors and that, as an interdisciplinary area of research with a commitment to the incorporation of multiple perspectives, it fosters cross-pollination and hybridization of continental and analytic traditions. (shrink)
Like many disciplines, the study of political philosophy has, to a large extent, been the study of modern western political philosophy, particularly liberalism, utilitarianism, and socialism. As a consequence, the study of comparative political philosophy is still in its infancy. The contributors to this volume move beyond this Eurocentric bias to facilitate and exchange perspectives originating in European, Chinese, Indian, and Islamic communities. They document the responses to the perilous transition from "tradition" to "modernity" and address the commonality of (...) human distress which characterizes such momentous transition. With respect to the central theme of transition, Comparative Political Philosophy is unusual in its coverage of so many eminent political philosophers--Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Voltaire, Hegel, Marx, Confucius, Mao Zedong, Kautilya, Gandhi, Farabi, and Khomeini. The book will be of interest to those interested in political theory, intellectual history, philosophy, as well as the general disciplines of political science, history, and area studies. "The book should appeal to readers across the disciplinary boundaries.". (shrink)
The past couple of decades have witnessed a remarkable burst of philosophical energy and talent devoted to virtue ethical approaches to Confucianism, including several books, articles, and even high-profile workshops and conferences that make connections between Confucianism and either virtue ethics as such or moral philosophers widely regarded as virtue ethicists. Those who do not work in the combination of Chinese philosophy and ethics may wonder what all of the fuss is about. Others may be more familiar with the issues (...) but have doubts about the fruitfulness of this line of inquiry. It is therefore worth asking whether a constructive engagement between Confucianism and virtue ethics is worth turning into a significant, multi-generational research agenda. Most answers to this question will fall somewhere between two poles. At one end is the view that the line of inquiry has run its course, if ever there were a course to run in the first place; at the opposite end is the view that we’re only just getting started. And then there is a wide range of more moderate views falling between these two positions. Far from having exhausted the potential of virtue ethical approaches to Confucianism, I think we are standing on a philosophical gold mine that we’ve only just begun to tap. In what follows I would like to explain briefly why I take this to be the case. (shrink)
Principles can seem as entrenched in moral experience as Kant thinks space, time, and the categories are in human experience of the world. However not all cultures have such a view. Classical Indian and Chinese philosophies treat modification of the self as central to ethics. Decisions in particular cases and underlying principles are much less discussed. Ethics needs comparative philosophy in order not to be narrow in its concerns. A broader view can give weight to how people sometimes can (...) change who they are, in order to lead better lives. (shrink)
Robert Smid is senior lecturer in philosophy and religion at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. This book, a slightly revised version of his recent PhD dissertation from Boston University, is dedicated to Robert Cummings Neville, under whose guidance it was originally written. As the title suggests, this volume explores various methods of comparative philosophers in the pragmatist and process traditions of American philosophy. Smid thus focuses his analytic lens on William Ernest Hocking (1873–1966), F. S. C. Northrop (1893–1992), the (...) collaborative work of David Hall (1937–2001) and Roger Ames (1947-), and Neville himself (1939-). The four chapters at the heart of the book—between the introduction and final .. (shrink)
Mou Zongsan's notion of "Buddhistic ontology" is interpreted here in its fundamental difference from his own previous metaphysical scheme, in the light of the Kyoto School philosophers' similar attempts to resolve the Kantian antinomy of practical reason. This is an alternative both to the analysis provided by previous interpreters of Mou's Buddhistic philosophy, such as Hans-Rudolf Kantor and N. Serina Chan, and to the comparative studies of Mou's theories with Kyoto School philosophy by Ng Yu-kwan. Previous researchers considered Mou's (...) Buddhist philosophy in continuity with moral metaphysics. However, this idea of ontology, inspired by Tiantai perfect teaching, is essentially different from the Qixinlun-inspired scheme of "twofold ontology." The implications of this problematic idea, however, were not pursued by Mou himself, but by the next generation of philosophers, such as Wing-cheuk Chan and Ng Yu-kwan. A comparison with Kyoto School philosophy enables us to clarify how the idea of Buddhism-inspired ontology is a radical criticism against Kantian philosophy, and how it shows similarity to Nishitani's Heidegger-inspired interpretation of Buddhism, which seeks to affirm the being of all things without reserve. (shrink)
Acupuncture, the traditional Chinese practice of needling to alleviate pain, offers a striking case where scientific accounts in two cultures, East and West, diverge sharply. Yet the Chinese comfortably embrace the apparent ontological incommensurability. Their pragmatic posture resonates with the New Experimentalism in the West--but with some provocative differences. The development of acupuncture in China (and not in the West) further suggests general research strategies in the context of discovery. My analysis also exemplifies how one might fruitfully pursue a (...) class='Hi'>comparative philosophy of science that explores how other cultures investigate and validate their conclusions about the natural world. (shrink)
: It is claimed that Comparative Philosophy of Religion (CPR) mistakenly builds on the dogmas of comparative religion (or history of religions) and philosophy of religion. Thus, the belief that there are things common and therefore comparable between two or more traditions and that these objects of comparison are of philosophical or theological significance are questions that continue to trouble the field. Just what does one compare, how does one choose what to compare or why, through what methodological (...) and epistemic tools, and who is it that carries out the tasks? But what has remained unasked and unanalyzed are the larger meta-questions concerning the motivation, civilizational presuppositions, cultural parochialism, or legacies of orientalism, modernity, and (post-)colonialism that together affect the boundedness of certain key categories and thematic issues in the comparative enterprise such as God or the Transcendent, Creation, the Problem of Evil, the Afterlife, Sin, Redemption, Purpose, and the End. Is difference with respect to alterity and altarity permissible? If so, what a postcolonial, differently gendered, cross-cultural critique would look like and what is left of CPR are two such questions explored here. (shrink)
Wesley Wildman: Religious philosophy as multidisciplinary comparative inquiry: envisioning a future for the philosophy of religion Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11153-012-9339-4 Authors Jeppe Sinding Jensen, Department of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, Tasingegade 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
Has comparative political philosophy progressed beyond crude generalizations and scattershot explorations of traditions perceived as exotic and other? In commenting on the current condition of comparative political philosophy, I will treat two of the main methodological questions which arise in the encounter with texts from traditions unfamiliar to philosophers in the West. First, I survey the difficulties of translation, between both languages and cultures. Second, I examine the problem of comparison, the associated dangers of distortion and the effects (...) of power asymmetries. (shrink)
From early on, comparative philosophy has had on offer a high variety of goals, approaches and methodologies. Such high variety is still today a trademark of the discipline, and it is not uncommon of representatives of one camp in comparative philosophy to think of those in other camps as not really being about ‘comparative philosophy’. Much of the disagreement arguably has to do with methodological problems related to the concept of comparison and with the widely prevailing but (...) unwarranted assumption that comparative philosophy should be about comparing ‘culturally different philosophies’. This paper seeks to problematize this assumption by clarifying conceptually the notions of ‘comparative philosophy’ and of ‘comparison’, by showing the prevalence of the assumption in recent second-order discussions of methodology in comparative philosophy and its restraining implications in a randomly selected contribution of ‘Chinese philosophy’. At the end, a rallying call for a (self-)critical comparative philosophy is issued. (shrink)
The twelve elegant essays in this slim volume by Robert Cummings Neville, Ritual and Deference: Extending Chinese Philosophy in a Comparative Context, originating in lectures and projects of varying purposes, crystallize Neville’s “Confucian program” of comparative philosophy, which has been taking shape in his earlier works. More accessible than his other monographs, its apparent simplicity is deceptive. While it would inspire and benefit even the novice, only those who have traveled some distance on the same arduous journey would (...) fully appreciate the depth of its understanding and the clarity achieved through struggle with the perennial identity crisis and methodological problems of comparative .. (shrink)
Bhattacharyya, K. The Advaita concept of subjectivity.--Deutsch, E. Reflections on some aspects of the theory of rasa.--Nakamura, H. The dawn of modern thought in the East.--Organ, T. Causality, Indian and Greek.--Chatterjee, M. On types of classification.--Lacombe, O. Transcendental imagination.--Bahm, A. J. Standards for comparative philosophy.--Herring, H. Appearance, its significance and meaning in the history of philosophy.--Chang Chung-yuan. Pre-rational harmony in Heidegger's essential thinking and Chʼan thought.--Staal, J. F. Making sense of the Buddhist tetralemma.--Enomiya-Lassalle, H. M. The mysticism of Carl (...) Albrecht and Zen.--Parrinder, G. The nature of mysticism.--Cairns, G. E. Axiological contributions of East and West to the spiritual development of mankind.--Mayeda, S. Śaṇkara's view of ethics.--Mercier, A. On peace.--Barlingay, S. S. A discussion of some aspects of Gaudapāda's philosophy. (shrink)
Before and during the times of Confucius and Aristotle, the concept of friendship had very different implications. This paper compares Confucius’ with Aristotle’s thoughts on friendship from two perspectives: xin 信 (fidelity, faithfulness) and le 乐 (joy). The Analects emphasizes the xin as the basis of friendship. Aristotle holds that there are three kinds of friends and corresponding to them are three types of friendship. In the friendship for the sake of pleasure, there is no xin; in the legal form (...) of friendship for the sake of utility, xin is guaranteed by law; and in the moral form of friendship for the sake of utility, xin is guaranteed by morality; in the friendship for the sake of virtue, xin is an indispensable part. Both thinkers believe friends can bring joy to human life. According to Confucius, it is the joy of rendao 仁道 (benevolence), whereas for Aristotle, it is the joy of Reason. There are many commonalities and differences between the two. The commonalities reveal some inner links between Confucian rendao and Aristotelian Reason. It seems that the differences between rendao and Reason are the differences between moral reason and logical reason. The comparative study is helpful for us to understand the two masters’ ethics, politics and philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropologist Mircea Eliade once said that "the union of opposites" is a basic category of archaic ontology and comparative world religions. In this paper I develop the theory of contrariety or opposition as a prime focus for East/West comparative philosophy. The paper considers especially Nishida Kitaro's later works and the complex phrase "zettai mujuntekijikodbitsu," variously translated by Schinzinger as "absolute contradictory self-identity," "the self-identity of absolute contradictories," or more simply as "oneness" or "unity" of opposites.
The work deals with Husserl's phenomenology of religion. The God of phenomenology in comparative contrast to that of philosophy and theology has to be a noematic correlate of a noetically lived experience. To this extend the idea of God is phenomenologically meaningful. Still the chasm between the God of phenomenology and that of theology remains unbridged. Husserl might have reconciled the two in his own person. Still there is some evidence that Husserl lived through the tension between his being (...) a radical phenomenologist and his being a believing Christian. (shrink)
The claim that there are incommensurable conceptual schemes through which different cultures see the world (or see their worlds) poses a challenge to the viability of comparative philosophy that cannot be easily dismissed. Donald Davidson’s famous attack on the very idea of alternative conceptual schemes through his rejection of the “third dogma of empiricism,” the dogma of the absolute distinction between scheme and content, has never been very well understood. I will argue that the rejection of the dogma enables (...) Davidson to adopt a realist position (as opposed to the anti-realist position of Rorty, who endorses the rejection)and forms the basis for his theory of radical interpretation, supported by his “principle of charity.” And I will use John Dewey’s “postulate of immediate empiricism” to explain Davidson’s views. Together they provide a way to meet the challenge of conceptual relativism. (shrink)