The Question of Methodology in Comparative Philosophy

Authors

  • Andrew Onwudinjo Institute of Humanities (IOH), Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos
  • Abayomi Sharomi, PhD Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos

Keywords:

Comparative Philosophy, Phenomenology, Ethnophilosophy, Polylogue

Abstract

This paper argues that the question of the method used in comparative
philosophy is critical to the success of the project of comparison because'the
method'is as essential as the subject under examination. We identifytwo notable
perspectives in comparative philosophy. First, comparative philosophy can
mean the comparison 'philosophies' (i.e.ideas, texts, or aims of different
philosophical traditions), where the primary focus is the comparisons
themselves. Second, comparative philosophy can also mean philosophical
reflection on the nature of comparison itself, where the primary focus is the
development of a philosophic account of what comparison is and how it is best
carried out. Without prejudice to the first perspective, this paper emphasizes the
latter because lesser research attention has been paid to it, yet it is important.
Its importance is based on its potential to enrich discourse in different
traditions. We advocate an open-minded approach of reflection and evaluation
which dispassionately assesses the conceptions of different traditions in their
quest to understand man, nature and realities. Upon an analysis of several
methods used in comparative philosophy, we contend that leaning towards a
particular method attuned to a tradition while attempting comparison with
other traditions of philosophy will not justly bring out the essence of such other
tradition. Furthermore, attempting to evolve a world philosophy using a
particular methodology would defeat its purpose. Thus, the inclusive nature of
reflection and evaluation accommodates diverse points of view (without losing
focus of the essence of the phenomena under study).

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2022-06-30

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