The Geography of Philosophy (GOP) – Presentación

Proyecto interdisciplinario internacional

THE GEOGRAPHY OF PHILOSOPHY (GOP)

Una exploración interdisciplinaria y transcultural sobre la universalidad y diversidad en conceptos filosóficos fundamentales.

Link a la página oficial del proyecto:
https://www.geographyofphilosophy.com/

Página de Facebook del proyecto:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/geographyofphilosophy/

Página de Facebook de Mente y Lenguaje:
https://www.facebook.com/GrupoMenteyLenguaje/

Más información sobre el equipo peruano aquí.

The Geography of Philosophy: An Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Exploration of Universality and Diversity in Fundamental Philosophical Concepts

Edouard Machery (University of Pittsburgh), Clark Barrett (UCLA), Stephen Stich (Rutgers University)

  1. Why is this project important?

The question that motivates our project is whether fundamental philosophical concepts – concepts that play a central role in the world-view of contemporary Americans and Western Europeans – are religious and cross-cultural universals that are used by people around the world.  The debate between those who think that many fundamental philosophical concepts are universal and those who think that no important philosophical concepts are shared by people in all religions and cultures is a venerable one.[1]  Until recently, most of the participants on both sides of the debate were philosophers, historians, anthropologists and scholars in cultural studies.[2]  During the last few decades, the debate has been joined by psychologists, linguists and experimental philosophers.[3]  In recent decades, the debate has also taken on great practical importance.  Globalization, high levels of migration, and the emergence of the internet have led to vastly more communication – or miscommunication – among people from different religions and cultures.  Shared concepts are one obvious foundation on which to build successful communication, and unsuspected conceptual differences might well play a role in undermining successful communication and exacerbating conflicts between religions and cultures.  The vast and unsettling economic and political differences that plague the modern world are, no doubt, the result of many interacting factors, one of which may be conceptual differences.  If the terms for knowledge, understanding and wisdom express different concepts in different religions or different cultures, this may play a significant role in explaining and sustaining differences in political systems, educational practices, and moral beliefs. The plight of many Indigenous cultures may be exacerbated by the failure of dominant cultures to recognize and respect important conceptual differences in a variety of domains.[4]

[1] When we ask whether people in different religious or cultural groups share a philosophically important concept like knowledge, we are asking whether the word that is standardly translated as ‘knowledge’ in the language of one group expresses the same concept as the word standardly translated as ‘knowledge’ in the language of the other group. We are, of course, acutely aware that there is a lively debate over how concepts should be individuated (Machery, 2009).  In this project, we take no stand on that issue.  When exploring whether religious or cultural groups share a philosophically important concept, we will address the question from a variety of different perspectives on what is required for concept individuation, including those proposed by Rey (1983), Peacocke (1992), Fodor (1998), Millikan (2000), Prinz (2002), Margolis & Laurence (2004), Carey (2009) and Machery (2015). We will examine how the three concepts of interest are used (what philosophers call “their functional role”), paying particular attention to their central uses (Rey, 1983), the uses that lay people view as “primitively justified” (Peacocke, 1992), that is, the uses that people view as justified because they are constitutive of the concepts deployed (one would be deploying another concept if one used it differently), and the uses that people rely on automatically (Machery, 2015). We will also pay attention to the properties the concepts may be tracking (Fodor, 1998; Millikan, 2000).

[2] Brown (1991), Benedict (1934), Levy-Bruhl (1923), Lloyd (2007), Mead (1928), Nakamura (1964),  Radin (1927), Viveiros de Castro (2014).

[3] Chandler et al. (2003), Machery et al. (2004), Mallon & Stich (2000), Nichols et al. (2003), Nisbett (2003), Norenzayan & Heine (2005), Rosch (1975), Weinberg et al. (2001), Wierzbicka (1972) & (1996).

[4] Chandler (forthcoming).

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