March 24, 2005

philosophy and the discourse of the nation

One of the contradictions about philosophy that has stuck me is how analytic philosophy says that it is universal, meaning that one's nationality has nothing to do with the eternal problems and the universal language of modern philosophy; but then the talk is soon about Anglo-American philosophy being good and continental (French philosophy) being bad. Then we have the denial that modern analytic philosophy is a part of the discourse of the nation.

And yet, in practice, there is a cordoning of Australian philosophy institution off from the philosophy of France and Germany. Australians view deconstruction as French philosophy and hermeneutics as German philosophy. You are prevented from studying this bad or non-philosophy. Modern philosophy is universal but that of the classical Greeks, the Germans in the 19th century and the French in the 20th century is bounded by the nation.

Interesting isn't it. The way that a universalist philosophy is a part of the discourse of the Anglo-American nation, and yet it is unreflective about its 'contamination.'

From memory the reflection that does exist takes the form a defence that sees the national discourse as a mere colouration of the universal language of philosophy. Colouration means style or the odd metaphor that is a form of decoration. Philosophy is like mathematics.

I would say that nationality is the spectre that haunts philosophy because nationalism is buried in the heart of the Western philosophical tradition.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at March 24, 2005 05:52 PM | TrackBack
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