Migrating Texts and Traditions
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Table of Contents
Philosophy is a part of culture, and there is little dispute that culture influences philosophy. Yet philosophical texts and traditions have been introduced into cultures and philosophical traditions very different from those of their origin and, in a world in which the recognition of diversity often competes with calls for unity, it is important to ask how such an introduction is ...
Introduction - What Does It Mean for Texts and Traditions to Migrate?
It is undeniable that philosophical texts and traditions from one culture are, and have been, found in very different cultures and intellectual milieus. Consider the presence of Buddhist philosophy in China, Korea and Japan—and more recently in North America and Europe. From its birthplace in India, Buddhism spread and developed throughout Asia (as Tibetan but also ...
Part I - From the West
1 - The Migration of Aristotelian Philosophy to China in the 17th Century
Aristotle was the first among the Western philosophers to be systematically introduced into China by the Jesuits in the 17th century. The person of Aristotle and Scholastic commentaries on Aristotle’s philosophy were introduced and translated, or better, rewritten, into Chinese. The attempt to systematically introduce Aristotle’s philosophy was one of the missionary projects of Matteo Ricci and ...
2 - The Reformulation of the Philoponean Proofs in Mediaeval Jewish Thought
This essay seeks to provide three examples of how proofs about the createdness of the world, found in the works of the Aristotelian/Neo-Platonic phi-osopher John Philoponus (490–570) were reformulated in early medieval Jewish thought, namely, in two works of Saadya Gaon (882–942).1 In the vivid atmosphere of the religious debates of 10th century Baghdad, it became ...
3 - Putting Islam and ‘The West’ Together Again: The Philosophy of M. M. Sharif
The voices of reason are often drowned out when the talk turns to the prospects of a ‘clash of civilizations’. M. M. Sharif was one of the two most influential Muslim philosophers of the 20th century. Only Mohammed Iqbal (1877–1938), perhaps, equalled him. Sharif was the creator of an original philosophical system, the editor of the most impressive collection of studies on the history of Muslim ...
4 - British Idealism as a Migrating Tradition
It has long been recognized that the philosophy of late-19th- and early-20th-century British Idealism had a significant influence in Britain, not only on the philosophical thought of the time, but also on religion, politics and social and public policy.1 Its impact, however, was felt not only in Britain but throughout much of its empire and even beyond. Recent studies have noted the presence of the work of the British ...
5 - The Migration of Ideas and Afrikaans Philosophy in South Africa
The phenomenon of philosophy in the Afrikaans language is the result of social and cultural circumstances that have played themselves out for more than two centuries in South Africa. From the 19th century, Afrikaans (and South African) philosophy has been influenced by British Idealism, continental thought (including phenomenology, existentialism, critical theory, hermeneutics, and ...
6 - Heidegger, Japanese Aesthetics, and the Idea of a ‘Dialogue’ between East and West
The story of ‘modern Japanese philosophy’ offers an interesting case study of ‘migration’. The expression covers, roughly, the philosophical output in Japan during the first half of the 20th century, including the writings of the Kyoto School, founded around Kitaro Nishida.1 This modern Japanese philosophy originated in the discovery by the Japanese of the Western philosophical tradition during the closing decades ...
7 - Hermeneutics and the Migration of Philosophical Traditions in East Asia
Among the European philosophical traditions that have a presence in East Asia, continental philosophy and especially hermeneutics have a particularly strong following. Beginning in the mid-1980s, for example, a number of major Western texts—by Walter Benjamin, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur and Richard Rorty—became available in Chinese translation, and ...
Part II - From the East and the South
8 - Dārā Shukoh and the Transmission of the Upaniṣads to Islam
Hospitality, says Kant in “Towards Perpetual Peace”, is a cosmopolitan right, the right of a stranger to make use of that shared possession of the human race, the surface of the earth, to visit other places, the right “not to be treated with hostility because he has arrived on the land of another” as long as no violence is commit-ted upon the host.1 What might it mean to say that the stranger has a right to ...
9 - A Buddhist ‘good life’ Theory: Śāntideva’s Bodhicaryāvatāra
Scholars in diaspora carry their texts with them—as many texts as possible—to preserve their cultural and intellectual tradition when they are threatened by political forces and military invasions. The Tibetan scholars who fled Tibet in 1959 managed to bring out a large number of classic texts central to the Mahayana Buddhist philosophy and religion of prenvasion Tibet. Among these texts was ...
10 - Sharing Insights: Buddhism and Recent Aristotelian Ethics
In the last few decades we have seen increasing turmoil in the world and an increasing concern about the weakening of moral bonds within the Western societies.1 At the same time we have seen a great outpouring of writings on Buddhism in North America. Buddhist masters have founded centres for the study and practice of meditation, many North American men and women have become practitioners ...
11 - Process Concepts of Text, Practice, and No Self in Buddhism
Wittgenstein is said (by the editors of his Lectures and Conversations)1 to have noticed that the religious believer may say that a religious belief—for example, belief in the Last Judgment—is well-established. Such beliefs may be held to be so because they regulate one’s life without being the result of a process of deliberation and decision. It is a matter of adopting a certain picture of how things are. By contrast, an ordinary ...
12 - On Being Enabled to Say What Is “Truly Real”
I simply accept and entrust myself to what a good teacher told me, “Just say the Name and be saved by Amida”: nothing else is involved. I have no idea whether the nembutsu is truly the seed for my being born in the Pure Land or whether it is the Many reflective persons today continue to investigate the deceptive nature of language. In the particular case of philosophy’s perennial struggles with religion, ...
13 - The Philosophers of Al Andalus and European Modernity
This chapter explores the development of the concept of autonomous reason within the Islamic tradition, with special emphasis on the philosophers of Al Andalus—those of the Iberian peninsula and the region of the Languedoc, following the Omayyad Muslim conquest from the 8th century. The chapter draws attention to important parallels that may show instances of the influence of their ...
14 - Radhakrishnan and the Construction of Philosophical Dialogue across Cultural Traditions
Many humanities and social science scholars today are committed to, or at any rate, pay lip service to ideals of interdisciplinarity and methodological cross-fertilization. In light of this fact, it is remarkable that there should be so little dialogue between historians of philosophy (including those who study political and religious philosophy) and intellectual historians, particularly with respect ...
Part III - Theoretical Issues
15 - Philosophy-in-Place and Texts Out of Place
Can a text migrate? What would it mean to use such a metaphor (and it is, with-out doubt, a metaphor)? We think of animals and people as migrating, some-times by choice, sometimes by instinct, sometimes by compulsion. Migration is movement, but not just any movement. It is movement across geographical, national and/or cultural boundaries or differences. So, migration requires ...
16 - Migrating Texts: A Hermeneutical Perspective
Where is the proper place of the text? A text is where it is appropriate to its place. This is our presupposition. With this presupposition of the text in regard to its place, we can begin to consider the conditions of migrating philosophical texts.A first observation: a migration of texts is an effect of place, and more precisely an effect ‘out of place’, an effect by which the texts’ original place is suspended or ...
17 - Text, Rationality, and Knowledge in Indian Philosophy
It is not uncommon among Western philosophers who show some interest in non-Western thought to engage that thought as if it were put forward as a series of arguments that require little or no understanding beyond what the resources of their own tradition afford. Arguments are lifted out of the forms in which they are assumed only to be presented, not embedded, and then are dealt with in ...
Afterword - Migration: Explanation, Analysis, and Directions
This volume has aimed at helping to understand the presence, and the migration, of philosophical texts and traditions from their cultures of origin to new cultural and philosophical environments. It has provided examples or cases of where such a migration has occurred, but also of where there have been significant challenges to it. It has also sought to examine the phenomenon—what it means for texts and traditions to ...