It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The qualities that make a society Western, in contrast, are special: the classical legacy, Christianity, the separation of church and state, the rule of law, civil society.
Westerners and the global rich -- like me -- live in post-scarcity society, while a billion people struggle to get enough to eat. And we're pushing the planet towards a tipping point, where the corals die and the forests burn and life becomes much, much harder. We have the resources to solve those problems, even now, but politics and economics and nationalism all get in the way.
If we could access all those minds, though Because it has no roots in sentiments, it is so dangerously easy to handle. Half a century has been enough for you to master this machine; and there are men among you, whose fondness for it exceeds their love for the living ideals which were born with the birth of your nation and nursed in your centuries.
It is like a child who in the excitement of his play imagines he likes his playthings better than his mother. Golf epitomizes the tame world. On a golf course nature is neutered. The grass is clean, a lawn laundry that wipes away the mud, the insect, the bramble, nettle and thistle, an Eezy-wipe lawn where nothing of life, dirty and glorious, remains. Golf turns outdoors into indoors, a prefab mat of stultified grass, processed, pesticided, herbicided, the pseudo-green of formica sterility.
Here, the grass is not singing. The wind cannot blow through it. Dumb expression, greenery made stupid, it hums a bland monotone in the key of the mono-minded. No word is emptier than a golf tee. No roots, it has no known etymology, it is verbal nail polish. Worldwide, golf is an arch act of enclosure, a commons fenced and subdued for the wealthy, trampling serf and seedling.
The enemy of wildness, it is a demonstration of the absolute dominion of man over wild nature. But what is wealth? Another washing machine, a bigger car, a nicer house to live in? Not much to feed the spirit in all that.
Memorable Quotations: Philosophers of Western Civilization
Woods Jr. It created the industrial and scientific revolutions that enabled the birth of a transportation, communications and knowledge revolution unprecedented in the 5 billion year history of this planet. Unfortunately this revolution took place amidst a moral vacuum at the very top of the power structure.
He was stunned by the apparent correspondence between binary arithmetic which he invented, and which became the mathematical basis for all computers and the I Ching , or Book of Changes , the Chinese classic that symbolically represents the structure of the Universe via sets of broken and unbroken lines, essentially 0s and 1s. In the 20th century, the psychoanalyst Carl Jung was so impressed with the I Ching that he wrote a philosophical foreword to a translation of it.
Wolff argued that Confucius showed that it was possible to have a system of morality without basing it on either divine revelation or natural religion. Because it proposed that ethics can be completely separated from belief in God, the lecture caused a scandal among conservative Christians, who had Wolff relieved of his duties and exiled from Prussia. However, his lecture made him a hero of the German Enlightenment, and he immediately obtained a prestigious position elsewhere.
Chinese philosophy was also taken very seriously in France. L eibniz, Wolff and Quesnay are illustrations of what was once a common view in European philosophy. In fact, as Peter K J Park notes in Africa, Asia, and the History of Philosophy: Racism in the Formation of the Philosophical Canon , the only options taken seriously by most scholars in the 18th century were that philosophy began in India, that philosophy began in Africa, or that both India and Africa gave philosophy to Greece. So why did things change? As Park convincingly argues, Africa and Asia were excluded from the philosophical canon by the confluence of two interrelated factors.
On the one hand, defenders of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant consciously rewrote the history of philosophy to make it appear that his critical idealism was the culmination toward which all earlier philosophy was groping, more or less successfully. On the other hand, European intellectuals increasingly accepted and systematised views of white racial superiority that entailed that no non-Caucasian group could develop philosophy.
Even St Augustine, who was born in northern Africa, is typically depicted in European art as a pasty white guy. So the exclusion of non-European philosophy from the canon was a decision , not something that people have always believed, and it was a decision based not on a reasoned argument, but rather on polemical considerations involving the pro-Kantian faction in European philosophy, as well as views about race that are both scientifically unsound and morally heinous.
Kant himself was notoriously racist. He treated race as a scientific category which it is not , correlated it with the ability for abstract thought, and — theorising on the destiny of races in lectures to students — arranged them in a hierarchical order:. Kant is easily one of the four or five most influential philosophers in the Western tradition. He asserted that the Chinese, Indians, Africans and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas are congenitally incapable of philosophy. And contemporary Western philosophers take it for granted that there is no Chinese, Indian, African or Native American philosophy.
If this is a coincidence, it is a stunning one. These are transparently bad arguments as both Jay Garfield and Amy Olberding have pointed out.
Peone and Tampio are part of a long line of thinkers who have tried to simply define non-European philosophy out of existence. In What is Philosophy , Martin Heidegger claimed that:. The statements of Derrida and Heidegger might have the appearance of complimenting non-Western philosophy for avoiding the entanglements of Western metaphysics. I t is not only philosophers in the so-called Continental tradition who are dismissive of philosophy outside the Anglo-European canon.
The British philosopher G E Moore was one of the founders of analytic philosophy, the tradition that has become dominant in the English-speaking world. But I am sure that whatever Dasgupta says is absolutely false. His joke would have had an exclusionary effect similar to sexist jokes made in professional contexts today.
When Sun Park was a student in a mainstream philosophy department in the US Midwest, he tried to encourage a more diverse approach to philosophy by advocating the hiring of faculty who specialise in Chinese philosophy or one other of the less commonly taught philosophies.
Take it or leave it. Sun Park eventually dropped out of his doctoral programme, and is now a filmmaker. How many other students — particularly students who might have brought greater diversity to the profession — have been turned off from the beginning, or have dropped out along the way, because philosophy seems like nothing but a temple to the achievement of white males?
Those who say that Chinese philosophy is irrational do not bother to read it, and simply dismiss it in ignorance. Most contemporary Western intellectuals gingerly dance around this issue.
The late Justice Antonin Scalia was an exception, saying in print what many people actually think, or whisper to like-minded colleagues over drinks at the club. Why does he think that the Mohist state-of-nature argument to justify government authority is not philosophy? Does he prefer the formulation of the argument for the equality of women given in the Vimalakirti Sutra , or the one given by the Neo-Confucian Li Zhi , or the one given by the Marxist Li Dazhao? Of course, the answer to each question is that those who suggest that Chinese philosophy is irrational have never heard of any of these arguments because they do not bother to read Chinese philosophy and simply dismiss it in ignorance.
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R eaders of this essay might be disappointed that my examples both positive and negative have focused on Chinese philosophy. This is simply because Chinese philosophy is the area in non-Western philosophy that I know best. To advocate that we teach more philosophy outside the Anglo-European mainstream is not to suggest the unrealistic goal that each of us should be equally adept at lecturing on all of them.
However, we should not forget that Chinese philosophy is only one of a substantial number of less commonly taught philosophies LCTP that are largely ignored by US philosophy departments, including African, Indian, and Indigenous philosophies. Although I am far from an expert in any of these traditions, I do know enough about them to recognise that they have much to offer as philosophy. Many forms of philosophy that are deeply influenced by the Greco-Roman tradition and hence particularly easy to incorporate into the curriculum are also ignored in mainstream departments, including African-American , Christian, feminist, Islamic , Jewish, Latin American, and LGBTQ philosophies.