Philosophy: specific origin and universal aspirations (traditional, modern, future)

Welsch, Wolfgang (1998) Philosophy: specific origin and universal aspirations (traditional, modern, future). UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Looking at the European tradition it appears to have been so from the start. At the beginning of his collection of the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers Diogenes Laertius (2nd/3rd century) bluntly stated that philosophy is a Greek thing: "Philosophy has its origin with the Greeks".(2) If there is controversy about this claim, it is about alternative national origins of philosophy (Persian, Babylonian, Indian, Celtic, and so on); philosophy, the opponents of Diogenes' graecocentric thesis say, occurs and takes a different shape in each of these peoples. So the dissent is not about the national character of philosophy, but only about who first invented it. But this is only half the story. When Diogenes asserts the primacy of Greek philosophy, his argument goes beyond the national character, he refers to humankind: "It was the Greeks who initiated not only philosophy but the education of the human species altogether."(3) Greek paideia is understood as paideia of humankind. What's considered peculiar to Greek philosophy and what raises any ordinary reflections about the world to the level of philosophy, is their universal - not merely national - perspective. To be relevant not just for a people but for humankind altogether, to transcend the national perspective by developing a universal one, constitutes the very definition of philosophy. (And as the philosophical endeavours in Greece - in contrast to other countries - strove for universality, they are, Diogenes Laertius concludes, rightly seen as establishing the proper concept of philosophy.(4))

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Internationalismus, Rorty, Quine, Transversalität
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Methodenlehre, Systemtheorie
Depositing User: Sissi Kemp
Date Deposited: 01 May 2002
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:50
URI: http://sammelpunkt.philo.at/id/eprint/197

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