The Quest for a Global Age of Reason. Part I: Asia, Africa, the Greeks, and the Enlightenment Roots

Dialogue and Universalism 31 (3):113-131 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper will contend that we, in the first quarter of the 21st century, need an enhanced Age of Reason based on global epistemology. One reason to legitimize such a call for more intellectual enlightenment is the lack of required information on non-European philosophy in today’s reading lists at European and North American universities. Hence, the present-day Academy contributes to the scarcity of knowledge about the world’s global history of ideas outside one’s ethnocentric sphere. The question is whether we genuinely want to rethink parts of the “Colonial Canon” and its main narratives of the past. This article argues that we, if we truly desire, might create “a better Enlightenment.” Firstly, by raising the general knowledge level concerning the philosophies of the Global South. Thus, this text includes examples from the global enlightenments in China, Mughal India, Arabic-writing countries, and Indigenous North America—all preceding and influencing the European Enlightenment. Secondly, we can rebuild by rediscovering the Enlightenment ideals within the historiography of the “hidden enlightenment” of Europe’s and North America’s past. In Part I, of two parts of this paper, a comparative methodology will be outlined. In addition, examples will be given from the history of ideas in India and China to argue that we need to study how these regions influenced the European history of ideas in the 16th and 17th centuries. Finally, towards the end of this text, a re-reading of the contributions from Egypt and Greece aspires to give a more global and complex context for Western Europe’s so-called Age of Reason.

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Leviathan.Thomas Hobbes - 1651 - New York: Harmondsworth, Penguin.
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Kant's second thoughts on race.Pauline Kleingeld - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):573–592.
The Antichrist.Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - 1911 - Mineola, New York: Prometheus Books.

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