Comparative Studies in Philosophy

Marzenna Jakubczak

The paper discusses peculiarity of the comparative method applied in philosophysince 1920s. It presents its basic foundations and objectives, as well as the early and most recent definitions of “comparative philosophy”. The author aims at reconsidering interms of philosophy both the reasons for bias against this method and its advantages inthe context of cross-cultural comparative studies. The crucial question is whether various incommensurate schemata of thought, including these which are determined by distinct cultural milieus, may be the subject of comparison at all. To answer this question, she refers, among others, to Ludwik Fleck’s conception of a socially constructed “thought style” and“the truth”, being completely determined within a thought style. The author also consults the conceptions of Stanisław Schayer, Daya Krishna, Bimal K. Matilal and Jitendra NathMohanty who recommend the comparative method as highly useful for the on-going philosophical debates as long as it is not confined to tracing merely similarities between different intellectual traditions, i.e. analogical ideas and equivalent arguments. What seems to the present author the most valuable philosophical contribution to the comparative studies is the perspective of polilogue suggested by Franz M. Wimmer, and the metacomparative selfreference recognized by Wilhelm Halbfass and Robert W. Smid as precious enhancement and challenge for profound philosophical inquiry as such.


Keywords: comparative studies · comparative philosophy · sociology of thought · Fleck · polilogue · xenology

Marzenna Jakubczak – Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland. Her main interests cover classical Indian philosophy, comparative philosophy and religion, philosophy of self, and cross-cultural aesthetics. She has edited, co-authored or authored several volumes, among others: Philosophy and Literature: Generation and Transformation in Gender and Postdependency Discourse (2012), Subjectivity and Self-knowledge (2011), Boginie, prządki,wiedzmy i tancerki. Wizerunki kobiety w kulturze Indii (2005), Między wiarą a gnozą. Doświadczenie mistyczne w tradycjach Orientu (2003), Poznanie wyzwalające. Filozofia jogi klasycznej (1999).   »  

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