Ignorance “Justifies” Ignorance (More on Non-Western Philosophy)


It is… worth inquiring why classical Chinese philosophers are not especially influential in contemporary U.S. philosophy. One possibility is historical accident: Because the dominant culture in the United States traces back to Europe, the classical Chinese philosophers were not taught to, and thus not read by, the succeeding generations. Ignorance thus apparently justifies ignorance: Because we don’t know their work, they have little impact on our philosophy; because they have little impact on our philosophy, we are justified in remaining ignorant about their work.

Eric Schwitzgebel reprints and updates a piece he wrote back in 2001 for the American Philosophical Association’s Newsletter on the Status of Asian & Asian-American Philosophers & Philosophies that is relevant to recent discussions here.

UPDATE: I apparently forgot to include the link to Schwitzgebel’s post, yesterday. It’s here.

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PeterJ
7 years ago

“Ignorance thus apparently justifies ignorance: Because we don’t know their work, they have little impact on our philosophy; because they have little impact on our philosophy, we are justified in remaining ignorant about their work.”

Perfectly put. The situation is ridiculous. It leads to a permanent lack of progress.Report