Abstract

If comparison is a fundamental activity of human consciousness, then what is its stimulus internal to consciousness or the human spirit or something that comes from the external or objective world? This essay traces the genealogy of the idea that comparison is an activity that forms consciousness in some canonical texts of modern philosophy (Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel) and the elaboration of this idea into a stimulus for the awakening of anticolonial consciousness in radical postcolonial nationalist literature (Jose Rizal, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and Michelle Cliff). It then argues that in contemporary globalization, comparison is no longer a critical activity but a material infrastructure that undermines the formation of a shared world even as it makes us more connected in unprecedented ways.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-661X
Print ISSN
0028-6087
Pages
pp. 523-545
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-17
Open Access
No
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