Quora Answer: What are the intellectual blind spots of western philosophy?

Oct 18 2014

This is the question I have been studying for years. This is the problematic of the nature of the Western worldview in relation to other worldviews, and Western Science in relation to traditional sciences of other cultures. In other words we cannot see our own blindspots, except by reference to other traditions that have different blindspots. This pretty much has to be a cross-cultural exploration if it is really going to turn up any blindspots we don’t know about in our own tradition. Unfortunately most people don’t know their own tradition less well other traditions to compare it to. So it turns out that this kind of cross-cultural philosophical anthropology very seldom gets done by anyone. And because no one has a background in the necessary assorted subjects that are necessary, even if you do it because of some strange intellectual aberration or fascination, no one knows what is being talked about and therefore they don’t get anything out of the results of such a study. Many of my posts on quora are on associated subjects and the reception of the various things I have written is a good indication of the level of interest in these sorts of subjects.

Basically if you don’t know your own tradition, and you don’t know any other traditions, then it is pretty well impossible understand these possible blindspots of our tradition. One of these blindspots is the fact that other traditions are more sophisticated that the Western tradition. We think our tradition is the most sophisticated tradition and that blinds us to the sophistication of other colonized cultures. Just to appreciate the sophistication of other traditions in relation to our tradition one has to learn quite a bit of other traditions. The basis of this greater sophistication is that meditation drives some other traditions and they are about not just mundane everyday experience but higher order states of consciousness which changes our view of our existence. Another point is that our tradition is stuck in Set-like approaches and Syllogistic Logic while say Hinduism, Buddhism and Chinese philosophy is rooted in Mass-like approaches and uses Pervasion logic. Another Blindspot is that Being is only an Indo-European idea, but we assume it is the fundamental basis for understanding everything, but other cultures have different fundamentals or ultimates different from Being. Europeans assume that everyone is talking about Being and they cannot differentiate Existentials that are the basis for approaching things in other traditions.

These are just a few points. Other points are made in different answers I have given already. And further examples are given in my various writings that are available at Academia.edu – Share research. But I would like encourage others to study different traditions in order to try to see the blindspots in our tradition. Those blindspots are your own blindspots too. We cannot separate ourselves from our tradition. Ignorance merely means not only do we have blindspots but are actually blind because we accept without thinking what ever we have picked up randomly.

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