A Chinese View on the Cultural Conditionality of Logic and Epistemology: Zhang Dongsun’s Intercultural Methodology
Keywords:cultural epistemology, language, logic, Chinese philosophy, intercultural methodology
Recognizing the fact that comprehension, analysis and transmission of reality are based on diversely structured socio-political contexts as well as on different categorical and essential postulates, offers a prospect of enrichment. Thus, this article presents an analysis and interpretation of one of the first Chinese theoreticians, working in the field of intercultural methodology. Although Zhang Dongsun (1886–1973) can be considered as one of the leading Chinese philosophers of the 20th Century, his criticism of Sinicized Marxist ideologies marked him as a political dissident and he was consequently consigned to oblivion for several decades; only recently has his work been rediscovered by a number of younger Chinese theorists, who have shown a growing interest in his ideas. Although he is still relatively unknown in the West, Zhang definitely deserves to be recognized for his contributions to Chinese and comparative philosophy. The present article focuses on his extraordinary ability to introduce Western thought in a way which was compatible with the specific methodology of traditional Chinese thought. According to such presumptions, culture is viewed as an entity composed of a number of specific discourses and relations. The article shows how the interweaving and interdependence of these discourses form different cultural backgrounds, which manifest themselves in the specific, culturally determined structures of language and logic. It also explains the role of traditional elements in his cultural epistemology.
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