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Journal of World Philosophies
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2474-1795
Published by Indiana University Press Homepage  [27 journals]
  • Tidescapes: Notes on a shi (勢)-inflected Social Science

    • Authors: John Law, Wen-yuan Lin
      Pages: 1 - 16
      Abstract: What might it be to write a post-colonial social science' And how might the intellectual legacy of Chinese classical philosophy—for instance Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu—contribute to such a project' Reversing the more usual social science practice in which EuroAmerican concepts are applied in other global locations, this paper instead considers how a “Chinese” term, shi (shì, 勢, or “propensity”) might be used to explore the UK’s 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic. Drawing on anthropological insights into mis/translation between different worlds and their alternative ways of knowing and being, the paper explores that epidemic in three differently inspired shi-inflected “empirical” accounts. The first uses Sun Tzu’s strategic understanding of shi to tell a conventionally representational story. The second resists the causes and background factors implied in standard social science by offering a “light” and shi-inflected form of knowing. And the third combines the referentiality of social science with a Lao Tzu-informed commitment to the paradoxes of normative epigram. This third narrative thus illustrates the possible features of a situated and shi-inflected social science that recognizes that it participates in the contexted and immanent flows and counterflows of things in the world. The paper concludes by noting that such a shi-inflected social science is experimental, and suggests that it is important to explore a range of ways of reversing the flow of concepts between EuroAmerica and other global locations.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Speculation as Transformation in Chinese Philosophy: On Speculative
           Realism, “New” Materialism, and the Study of Li (理) and Qi (氣)

    • Authors: Leah Kalmanson
      Pages: 17 - 30
      Abstract: This article makes the following comparative claims about the contributions of Song- and Ming-dynasty Chinese discourses to recent work in the related fields of new materialism and speculative realism: (1) emerging trends in so-called new materialism can be understood through the Chinese study of qi (氣), which can be translated as “lively material” or “vital stuff”; and (2) the notion of “speculation” as this is used in recent speculative realism can be understood as the study of, engagement with, and ultimate transformation by li (理), a term meaning “principle” or “structure.” However, the focus of the article is as much polemical as it is comparative. By arguing that these contemporary Western movements be categorized by Chinese schools, I challenge and reverse the tendency to subsume non-Western philosophies under Western categories and intervene in the academic practices that continue to define the “new” on Eurocentric models alone.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Can Words Carve a Jointless Reality' Parmenides and Śaṅkara

    • Authors: Chiara Robbiano
      Pages: 31 - 43
      Abstract: Parmenides and Śaṅkara are two ontological non-dualists who regard any division—for instance, between everyday objects or individuals—as conventional. Both Parmenides and Śaṅkara, by arguing for the undividedness of absolute reality, provide a vantage point from which to consider the possible arbitrariness of all divisions, which originate from human distinctions, rather than reflect gaps between different joints of reality. Human distinctions—and words used to draw them—are secondary to a reality that cannot be cut at its natural joints, since it does not have such joints. Reality can only be cut in useful pieces, according to the cutter’s perspective and purpose—thus no individual, science, or discourse can claim to know the allegedly real divisions of reality. In spite of this, Parmenides and Śaṅkara regard distinctions as both useful for everyday life and necessary for doing philosophy. I visualize their non-dual reality as an undivided background that can be both known immediately and non-dually, and foregrounded by means of distinctions, such as being and not-being, atman and non-atman —while they make it clear that such distinctions are just useful words. Epistemological dualism might be a useful tag for both of their philosophies. A reflection on these two philosophers is an example of borderless philosophy: an inquiry into conceptual tools that come from different philosophical traditions, and that provide a vantage point for reflection on our practices—in this case, our use of words that create distinctions rather than divisions.  
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • A Process Metaphysics and Lived Experience Analysis of Chicanxs,
           Spanglish, Mexicans and Mexicanidad

    • Authors: Kim Díaz
      Pages: 44 - 52
      Abstract: In the conclusion to “A World of Pure Experience” (1904), William James writes, “experience grows by its edges.” I explore what this may mean vis-à-vis Chicanx culture and Spanglish to argue that Chicanxs are neither a bastardization of Anglo or Mexican people and culture, nor is Spanglish a bastardization of English or Español, and that in some ways Chicanxs feel their Mexicanidad more palpably than Mexicans who live in the interior of Mexico, where one’s Mexicanidad is not a predominant identifier. I first explain the process metaphysics that James espouses as well as his view of the lived experience. I build on these two Jamesian concepts and work with the chapter “The Pachuco and Other Extremes” from Octavio Paz’s The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950), as well as Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) to explore the experience of being a Chicana and speaking Spanglish on the U.S-Mexico border.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Making the Case for Jaina Contributions to Critical Thinking Education

    • Authors: Anand Jayprakash Vaidya
      Pages: 53 - 78
      Abstract: The central goal of the cross-cultural critical thinking movement is to change the dominant model of critical thinking pedagogy that is used in the US, UK, and those countries that follow this model. At present the model is centered on an Anglo-American and Euro-Centric model of critical thinking that actively and blatantly ignores contributions to logic and critical thinking education from non-Western sources; more importantly, the model implicitly sends the message to students of critical thinking that critical thinking is a valuable set of skills that derives from what is taken to be Western culture. Cross-cultural critical thinking, by contrast, is centered on a globally inclusive model of critical thinking that presents contributions to critical thinking from a variety of different cultures and traditions. This alternative model aims in part to convey the message that critical thinking is part of the human condition and that understanding it within the human condition is essential to the proper deployment of it in a pluralistic society where there is disagreement over matters of ultimate value. In this paper I offer a presentation and defense of a set of contributions deriving from the Jaina tradition of philosophy that could be presented in a globally sensitive critical thinking course. The central concepts I present and interpret are: non-one-sidedness (anekāntavāda), the theory of epistemic standpoints (nayavāda), intellectual non-violence (intellectual ahiṃsā), and the theory of seven-fold predication (saptabhaṅgī). In each case I focus on the relevance that the concept has for critical thinking education at the introductory level.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Are Art Criticism, Art Theory, Art Instruction, and the Novel Global

    • Authors: James Elkins
      Pages: 79 - 92
      Abstract: As visual art becomes more international, ways of writing about art become more uniform. This essay proposes that two disciplines concerned with contemporary visual art, art criticism and art theory, are on the verge of being effectively homogeneous around the world. They share concepts, artists, artworks, institutions, and bibliographic references. For comparison, I consider two other fields that may also be increasingly uniform: studio art instruction and the novel. The last, in particular, is the subject of a large literature; critics and historians debate whether contemporary global novels are becoming more self-similar if not more predictable. The literature on the novel allows me to conclude that it is likely writing on art is following the same tendency.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • How Do Cross-Cultural Studies Impact Upon the Conventional Definition of

    • Authors: Stephen Davies, Samer Akkach, Meilin Chinn, Enrico Fongaro, Julie Nagam, John Powell
      Pages: 93 - 122
      Abstract: While Stephen Davies argues that a debate on cross-cultural aesthetics is possible if we adopt an attitude of mutual respect and forbearance, his fellow symposiasts shed light upon different aspects which merit a closer scrutiny in such a dialogue. Samer Akkach warns that an inclusivistic embrace of difference runs the risk of collapsing the very difference one sought to understand. Julie Nagam underscores that local knowledge carriers and/or the medium should be involved in such a cross-cultural exploration. Enrico Fongaro searches for a way of experiencing cross-cultural art such that it can lead to a transformative experience Relatedly, Meilin Chinn uses the analogy of friendship to explore the edifying dimension of experiencing an art form. Lastly, John Powell studies whether Dickie’s Institutional Theory can be meaningfully used to identify works of art in Western and non-Western traditions.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Intercultural Philosophical Wayfaring: An Autobiographical Account in
           Conversation with a Friend

    • Authors: Michiko Yusa
      Pages: 123 - 134
      Abstract: The formation of the discipline of intercultural philosophy reveals its “karmic aspects,” in which dynamic encounters of scholars and students lay its future courses and clear unexpected paths. What was it like for a Japanese female Junior Year Abroad Exchange student to be in the American academic environment in the early 1970s, and her subsequent experience at the University of California Santa Barbara' A slice of her early memories, as well as her observations regarding the present and future of Japanese philosophy and intercultural philosophy in Japan and in the global context are presented in this essay, in which, while Raimon Panikkar and Ninian Smart figure largely, Nishida Kitarō is also significantly in the picture. The essay is a “conversation” with an invisible interlocutor.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • My Pursuits in Philosophy

    • Authors: Pradeep P. Gokhale
      Pages: 135 - 141
      Abstract: Though I loved Sanskrit, I had a skeptical and heretical attitude towards many beliefs cherished in Sanskrit knowledge systems. I found philosophy to be the right platform to pursue noble ideals without compromising my skeptical and heretical approach. While criticizing Śaṅkara’s Advaita-Vedānta perspective, I tried to present a reconstruction of the Lokāyata perspective, which is traditionally identified with Indian materialism, by making it more intelligible and relevant. The orthodox-heterodox division of Indian Philosophy was also important for me for its moral-social implications. Hence, I was interested in Jainism and Buddhism. My research interests in these schools covered their ethics, epistemology, and logic. My studies in Buddhism led me to take seriously the impact of Buddhism on Indian culture, and also the rational and secular reconstruction of Buddhism rendered by the thinkers like Satyanarayan Goenka, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, and B. R. Ambedkar. One of the driving forces in my intellectual journey has been my view that if the Indian social order is to be rid of the caste system and made more rational and moral as well as less superstitious and unjust, the centrality of Brahmanical schools has to be replaced by that of non-Brahmanical schools.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Unity Through Diversity: Inter-world, Family Resemblance, Intertextuality

    • Authors: Jay Goulding
      Pages: 142 - 150
      Abstract: This is a composite review of three intriguing and provocative books that address the interconnections between East Asian and Western philosophy. Firstly, in Phenomenology and Intercultural Understanding: Toward a New Cultural Flesh, Kwok-Ying Lau thinks that phenomenology can help construct a “cultural flesh” between civilizations that encourages East-West philosophical dialogues, and that China needs to adopt Western terminology to facilitate an intercultural engagement. Merleau-Ponty’s “inter-world” can help this bridge. Secondly, in Fundamentals of Comparative and Intercultural Philosophy, Lin Ma and Jaap van Brakel argue that Chinese thinkers of the modern world invent “Chinese philosophy” in order to engage with Western thought. In a distinct fashion, they incorporate a Wittgenstein-inspired scenario whereby the necessary precondition for comparative intercultural philosophy is the “attitude-toward-a-soul principle” alongside the “family resemblance principle” which includes the “no need to speak the same language principle” or no need for one tradition to adopt another’s terminology. Thirdly, in Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought, Eric S. Nelson proposes that intertextual analysis opens multi-dimensional spaces of interpretation to situate changing views of East-West encounters in Germany ranging from Hegel and Kant to Buber and Heidegger. Daoism, Confucianism, Chan and Zen Buddhism are sites for examination by Western thinkers that open portals to East Asian culture and philosophy.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Perspectives on the Methods of Chinese Philosophy

    • Authors: Robert A. Carleo III
      Pages: 151 - 156
      Abstract: The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies offers rich, productive discussion of methodological best practices in Chinese philosophy. The participants to this exchange are largely representative of the diverse methodologies currently undertaken in Chinese philosophy, and their contributions illuminate key dimensions of the nature of comparative work and its possibilities. The volume serves as a valuable introduction to the methodological perspectives of established figures in the field, rehearsing influential views and offering diverse insights. The return to shared themes serves well to connect the essays and draw the reader into a rich conversation over how to approach comparative philosophy. Its diversity of methodological views is complemented by variety in the methods of discussing and understanding those methodological views.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • “China” as the West’s Other in World Philosophy

    • Authors: Steve Fuller
      Pages: 157 - 164
      Abstract: Bryan Van Norden’s Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto draws on his expertise in Chinese philosophy to launch a comprehensive and often scathing critique of contemporary Anglo-American philosophy. I focus on the sense in which “China” figures as a “non-Western culture” in Van Norden’s argument. Here I identify an equivocation between what I call a “functional” and a “substantive” account of culture. I argue that Van Norden, like perhaps most others who have discussed Chinese philosophy, presupposes a “functional” conception, whereby the relevant sense in which “China” matters is exactly as “non-Western,” which ends up incorporating some exogenous influences such as Indian Buddhism but not any of the Western philosophies that made major inroads in the twentieth century. I explore the implications of the functional/substantive distinction for the understanding of cross-cultural philosophy generally.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • Critique of Black Reason: Rethinking the Relation of the Particular and
           the Universal

    • Authors: Schalk Hendrik Gerber
      Pages: 165 - 168
      Abstract: This article reviews the 2017 English translation of Achille Mbembe’s book Critique of Black Reason. It suggests that a key to understanding the work concerns the theme of the double, for instance, the critique of the double discourse on Blackness which explains the title of the book. Despite some passages of the text being overly poetic and difficult to understand, Mbembe’s critical contribution in this work, to not only the philosophical debate on otherness but also critical race theory, is the attempt to rethink the relation of the particular and the universal, or in this instance Africa and the world, in order to think more critically about the responsibility of repairing the dignity of humanity in thinking our shared world beyond race and racism.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
  • The Tradition of Avicennan Metaphysics in Islam

    • Authors: Frank Griffel
      Pages: 169 - 173
      Abstract: The Shi’ah Institute in London arranged the publication of an English translation of one of the most popular Iranian textbooks of the Avicennan tradition of metaphysics in Islam. First printed in Persian in 1956, Mahdī Ḥaʾirī Yazdī’s Universal Science gives an un-contextualized presentation of the most important discussions that happened within Avicennan metaphysics since its inception in the 11th century.
      PubDate: 2018-05-31
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2018)
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