Don Howard recently uploaded an interesting paper on cross-cultural philosophy on academia.edu.
The paper discusses stimulating topics, such as why we* react ackwardly when we hear of “African philosophy” or “Native American philosophy” and why these labels sound like a contradictio in objecto.
- Has this to do with the nature of philosophy, which was born in 6th c. Jonia (as claimed in Howard’s first paragraph)?
- Or rather with our racial prejudices?
- Or with our inability to recognise as philosophy what does not conform to our expectations?
Howard further notes that the only partial exception to the ban to non-Western philosophies is “Indian philosophy” (Jewish and Arabian philosophy are clearly part of philosophy and not in need of discussion). His answer as for why this is so regard all the xthree alternatives mentioned above, since he suggests that Indian thought might have in itself something more philosophical than, say, African thought. However, he also notes that the recognition of Indian philosophy by Schopenhauer and Deussen went along with the almost-coeval recognition of Sanskrit as an (or: “the main”) Indo-European language, so that this “ratial” affinity could have vouched for Indian philosophy as a worthy discussant at “the philosophers’ Stammtisch“.
Next, Howard also discusses the discipline’s boundaries and their historicity (and their socio-economical reasons).
Last, Howard concludes with the commitment to tell a story of continuity, continuity between philosophy and religion (and philosophy and history, and different cultures among each other).
Is this a way to avoid leaving behind different philosophies?
*The pronoun is Howard’s. Perhaps readers of this blog will have a different intuition.
(cross-posted on my personal blog)