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Philosophy in the Ten Directions: Global Sensibility and the Imaginary

From: Philosophy East and West
Volume 58, Number 3, July 2008
pp. 301-317 | 10.1353/pew.0.0012



The emerging contours of global philosophy are being shaped by worldwide exchanges, diverse methods and approaches, the diminution of cultural hegemony, and expanded access to philosophical discussion. But globally intentioned scholars whose formative intellectual preparation is Anglo-European may be unaware of the role played by the imaginary in suppressing ideas and values that differ from one's root tradition. This essay uses a model of the Western philosophical imaginary taken from French researcher Michèle Le Doeuff, and draws connections between Le Doeuff's attempts to expose and interrupt the Western imaginary and the efforts of philosophers who wish to cross geographical and cultural boundaries. It is argued that Le Doeuff's critical approach has much to offer those who wish to cultivate a more receptive and supple philosophical sensibility—a global sensibility—and that this approach can be complemented by a horizontal practice adapted from Mahāyāna Buddhist sources. The purpose of this essay is to promote continuing dialogue about how best to realize the promise of globalization in philosophical practice.

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