Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Baggini, Julian. "Truth Stranger than Falsehood." GUARDIAN July 31, 2008.
It is ironic that philosophy – the subject that aspires to describe the most universal and fundamental truths – is probably, as a matter of fact, the least universal discipline of all. At any global scientific gathering, for example, you could at least be sure that everyone there was doing the same subject. They'd also largely use the same methods and, except at the cutting edge, would agree on a huge body of fact too. In philosophy, however, what counts as universal is very local. Here in Seoul, the diverse approaches on display at the conference range from Jainism, Buddhism and Confucianism, through to Hegelian dialectics, hermeneutics and Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Although all are welcome into the philosophy family for the congress, it is not clear that what they mean by philosophy is the same thing at all. However, dialogue is de rigeur and everyone does their best to at least pretend to treat all the different forms of philosophy equally. But this is politics, not philosophy. For instance, I've just been to a session by an organisation called Jain Vishva Bharati, in which 10 people lined up to describe "The Role of Jainism in Evolving a New Paradigm of Philosophy." . . . Only the day before [the former president of FISP Ioanna Kuçuradi] had spoken about the need to resist relativism and insist knowledge has an object. The Jainists, however, had explicitly denied the "binary system of logic" which "maintains that if something is true it cannot be false." "This is not acceptable to the Jain point of view," said Prof S. R. Bhatt, although presumably he would allow that it was acceptable too. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/31/korea.