Is Philosophy Western? Some Western and East Asian Perspectives on a Metaphilosophical Question

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 36 (2):219-231 (2022)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This article examines East Asian as well as Western perspectives on the major metaphilosophical question: Is philosophy Western? Along with European philosophy, in the late nineteenth century the Japanese imported what can be called “philosophical Euromonopolism,” namely, the idea that philosophy is found exclusively in the Western tradition. However, some modern Japanese philosophers, and the majority of modern Chinese and Korean philosophers, have referred to some of their traditional Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist discourses as “philosophy.” This article discusses debates in East Asia as well as in the United States and Europe over the discipline-defining question of whether the academic field of philosophy should include Asian and other non-Western traditions of profound and rigorous—even if methodologically as well as conceptually unfamiliar—thinking about fundamental matters. It argues that, henceforth, the field of philosophy should be conceived as dialogically cross-cultural rather than as exclusively Western.

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Bret W. Davis
Loyola University Maryland

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