Comparison is fundamental to the practice and subject-matter of philosophy, but has received scant attention by philosophers. This is even so in “comparative philosophy,” which literally distinguishes itself from other philosophy by being “comparative.” In this article, the need for a philosophy of comparison is suggested. What we compare with what, and in what respect it is done, poses a series of intriguing and intricate questions. In Part One, I offer a problematization of the tertium comparationis (the third (...) of comparison) by examining conceptualizations of similarity, family resemblance, and analogy, which it is sometimes argued can do without a tertium comparationis. In Part Two, I argue that a third of comparison is already required to determine what is to be compared, and insofar as that determination precedes the comparison that tertium may be called “pre-comparative.” This leads me to argue against incomparability and to show how anything can indeed be compared to anything. In Part Three, I relate my arguments to what is today commonly labelled “comparative philosophy.” Finally, I raise some questions of ontology and politics in order to demonstrate the relevance of a philosophy of comparison. (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)
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)
This essay challenges the claim that fusion philosophy is the successor to comparative philosophy. Comparative philosophy should find itself deeply at odds with the approach to various philosophical problems and traditions that fusion philosophy is taking, and comparative philosophers will surely deny Mark Siderits’1 claim that they have been superseded. The manner then in which fusion philosophy dismisses comparativist concerns and objections is to admit that such objections are valid in some case but to deny that they (...) are intrinsic to good fusion philosophy. Comparativists however generally do not claim that fusion philosophy is necessarily or inherently bound to make the mistakes and contribute to misunderstandings that they claim it often does. Their claim is that from the start such philosophy often does make just these kinds of problematic errors and assumptions, and that this is what comparativist philosophy must seek to avoid. By the time fusionists are done defending – actually 'sanitizing' – fusion philosophy from comparativist objections, one is left not with fusion philosophy but with what is – from the comparativist perspective – comparative philosophy. There is no succession from comparative philosophy to fusion philosophy and no segue from one to the other. (shrink)
The author argues in this paper that there is no neutral philosophy, and in particular no neutral comparative philosophy (as, in this case comparative Indian and Western philosophies), since each positionality would imply a perspective, a bias or an interest. The author has worked on the comparison between Indian (in particular, Ancient) philosophies and European (Continental) Conptemporary philosophies, since this is the intersection where colonial history, racial and cultural bias and hegemonic views would come into sight. She gives (...) some examples from "Indian" philosophy misunderstood in the "Western" episteme and context. (shrink)
In this original work of systematic philosophy, David Dilworth places the major texts of Western and Oriental philosophy and religion, both ancient and modern, into one comparative framework. His study reveals affinities between thinkers who lived centuries and continents apart and produces numerous insights by bringing great philosophical texts together into a single purview. “This is a provocative and challenging book: far-reaching in scope and implication, worldwide in its vision, yet inescapably Aristotelian in its grounding. It is to be (...) hoped that it will acquaint more Western readers with Chinese philosophy, while spurring Asian thinkers to offer counterproposals about the crucial issues of philosophy in their respective traditions and the best methods to compare them.”—Carl Becker, _Journal of Asian Studies _ “The work opens new interpretive possibilities for intra- and inter-textual reflection on a grand scale.”—Edith Wyschogrod, Queens College “Philosophers East or West should buy and read this book.”—Robert Magnolia, Tamkang University and National Taiwan University, Taiwan. (shrink)
Comparative philosophy between two disparate cultural-philosophic traditions, such as Western and Chinese philosophy, has become a new trend of philosophical fashion in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Having learned from the past, contemporary comparative philosophers cautiously safeguard their comparative studies against two potential pitfalls, namely cultural universalism and cultural relativism. The Orientalism that assumed the superiority of the Occidental has become a memory of the past. The historical pendulum has apparently swung to the other extreme. (...) The more recent "reverse Orientalism" has started to reclaim the superiority of the Oriental. We have even been told that the twenty-first... (shrink)
This chapter discusses the comparative philosophies of two premier comparativists of postwar Japan, Nakamura Hajime and Izutsu Toshihiko. Both were known as accomplished scholars within their respective fields—Buddhist studies and Indology for Nakamura, and Islamic studies for Izutsu—when they initiated their comparative projects. Each had a distinct vision of what comparison entails and the sort of philosophy it would produce. Nakamura’s project was a world history of ideas that uncovers basic patterns in the unfolding of human thought. Izutsu (...) aims to reconstruct Oriental philosophy on the basis of certain key concepts common to the traditions. The chapter covers the aims, methods, and philosophical achievements of their comparative projects. In their juxtaposition, it makes evident significant differences in their projects, methods, and results. (shrink)
The article continues the discussion “Can "national philosophy" be understood as a strictly defined object of research?” initiated in volumeXXX of Sententiae. Analyzing Tomasz Mróz’ book “Selected Issues in the History of Polish Philosophy” (2016), the authors compare the problems of historiography of Polish and Ukrainian philosophy. The authors believe that Mróz’ bookoffers an interesting perspective of comparative study of national philosophical traditions, the idea of which was suggested earlier by Vasyl Lisovy. The authors focus on the heuristic potential (...) of the Mróz’ analysis of discussions concerning possible distinction between the terms “Polish philosophy“ and “philosophy in Poland” and his studies of Plato's reception in Poland. Such analysis allows us to raise several questions: (1) are the studies of “Polish philosophy” and “philosophy in Poland” not mutuallyexclusive, but, on the contrary, complementary genres of historiography of national philosophy? (2) howtodistinguish in the analysisof the reception of a certain philosophical doctrine in national philosophy things pertaining to the history of this philosophy as a whole, from things pertaining to the history of development of the doctrine itself? (shrink)
This book broadens the inquiry into emotion to comprehend a comparative cultural outlook. It begins with an overview of recent work in the West, and then proceeds to the main business of scrutinizing various relevant issues from both Asian and comparative perspectives. Original essays by experts in the field. Finally, Robert Solomon comments and summarizes.
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)
Mark Siderits, Michael Nylan and Martin Verhoeven were invited to respond to Michael Levine’s discussion paper ‘Does Comparative Philosophy Have a Fusion Future?’ This paper documents Levine’s reply to their responses.
Is Reason a Neutral Tool in Comparative Philosophy? In his answer to the symposium’s question, Jonardon Ganeri develops a »Manifesto for [a] Re:emergent Philosophy.« Tracking changes in the understanding of ›comparative philosophy,‹ he sketches how today’s world of academic philosophy seems to be set to enter an »age of re:emergence« in which world philosophies will be studied through modes of global participation. In their responses, the symposium’s discussants tease out implications of this Manifesto for different issues: While Mustafa (...) Abu Sway suggests that comparative philosophy be understood as an intra-philosophical dialogue, whose aim depends on its participants, Paul Boghossian questions whether there can be conflicting, yet equally valid, ways of arriving at justified beliefs about the world. For her part, Georgina Stewart draws out the similarities between Ganeri’s understanding of comparative philosophy and the ethical stance involved in studying Maori science. In his Reply, Ganeri fleshes out his understanding of a pluralistic realism. Only an epistemic culture, which is open to a plurality of epistemic stances, he contends, can propel polycentric modes of knowledge production. (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.
In this short autobiographical essay, I reflect upon what comparative philosophy could mean to the social existence of a female Chinese scholar like me. I argue that comparative studies have been beneficial to people like me who live in hybrid, ex-colonial spaces. Comparative philosophy has allowed me to develop, and hone, my own understanding of issues pertaining to feminist theory and aesthetics. It has also aided me in recontextualizing and reappropriating some elements of my Confucian background.
In this paper, I first address two facets that can play a role in initiating a paradigm shift in comparative studies of Heidegger and Chinese philosophy: One is the necessity of renovating methodology in studies of Chinese philosophy and comparative philosophy. The other is an adequate understanding of Heidegger’s own comportment toward East-West dialogue. In this connection I briefly respond to some criticisms of my book Heidegger on East-West Dialogue: Anticipating the Event. Then I stake out three directions (...) of re-configuration or reorientation entailed in such a paradigm shift. The first direction is concerned with a deconstruction of the notion of philosophy. The second direction is related to a critical and intercultural approach to Heidegger’s thinking. The third direction is connected with the overcoming of the unilateral direction in comparative studies. (shrink)
Breaks through the cultural barriers between Western, Indian, and Chinese philosophy and demonstrates that despite considerable differences between these three great philosophical traditions, there are fundamental resemblances in their abstract principles.
As a genus of philosophy, comparative philosophy serves various important purposes. It helps people understand various philosophies and it helps philosophers develop new ideas and solve problems. In this essay, I first clarify the meaning of “comparative philosophy” and its main purposes, arguing that an important purpose of comparative philosophy is to help us understand cultural patterns. This function makes comparative philosophy even more significant in today’s globalized world.
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.
The paper aims to clarify and develop some of the issues raised by S. Rudenko & S. Yosypenko who reviewed the author’s book Selected Issues in the History of Polish Philosophy. It focuses mostly on methodological questions in the historiography of national philosophies, and on interdisciplinary approach which is presented as useful and fruitful for researching less influential philosophical traditions.
We offer a sceptical examination of a thesis recently advanced in a monograph published by Princeton University Press, entitled Greek Buddha: Pyrrho’s Encounter with Early Buddhism in Central Asia. In this dense and probing work, Christopher I. Beckwith, a professor of Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, argues that Pyrrho of Elis adopted a form of early Buddhism during his years in Bactria and Gandhāra, and that early Pyrrhonism must be understood as a sect of early Buddhism. In making (...) his case Beckwith claims that virtually all scholars of Greek, Indian, and Chinese philosophy have been operating under flawed assumptions and with flawed methodologies, and so have failed to notice obvious and undeniable correspondences between the philosophical views of the Buddha and of Pyrrho. In this study we take Beckwith’s proposal and challenge seriously, and we examine his textual basis and techniques of translation, his methods of examining passages, his construal of problems and his reconstruction of arguments. We find that his presuppositions are contentious and doubtful, his own methods are extremely flawed, and that he draws unreasonable conclusions. Although the result of our study is almost entirely negative, we think it illustrates some important general points about the methodology of comparative philosophy. (shrink)
This essay critiques or engages a wide range of existing works on the ancient and well-contested issue of weakness of will, from a new perspective of comparative philosophy combined with a focus on a largely neglected Davidsonian paradox of irrationality. It aims at revealing the interplay between the descriptive and the normative in the very notion of critical interpretation, as well as a special relation between holding-true and making-true which helps to explain the non-accidentalness of the descriptive coat of (...) the Plato Principle and some of the Mencian paradigmatic tenets. By the same token, it also sheds light on some holistic picture about a certain implicit type of dynamic normativity, which seems evidently applicable to, for example, the Mencius-Xunzi 荀子 dispute on human nature, but scarcely noticed or articulated in contemporary contexts of comparative philosophy. (shrink)
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)
Why should interpretation of conceptual schemes and practices across traditions work at all? In this paper we present the following necessary conditions of possibility for interpretation in comparative and Chinese philosophy: the interpreter must presuppose that there are mutually recognizable human practices; the interpreter must presuppose that “the other” is, on the whole, sincere, consistent, and right; the interpreter must be committed to certain epistemic virtues. Some of these necessary conditions are consistent with the fact that interpretation is not (...) thwarted by the “danger” of relativism or of incommensurability. Some other conditions are suggestive of reorientations of methodologies of comparative and Chinese philosophy. (shrink)