The promise and problems of intercultural philosophy
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In this paper I sketch the main elements of Heinz Kimmerle
s conceptualization of intercultural philosophy: a new concept of difference that makes possible a new take on
different and equal
, which is the foundation for real dialogue. I interrogate the concept of culture in intercultural philosophy, and argue that for the South African context sufficient emphasis must be placed on power relations as they impact on cultures and the legacy of a history of cultural domination. I try to show that Kimmerle
s notion of the equality of cultures implies in the first instance that a particular context is not judged in terms of criteria foreign to it, but taken seriously as a valid instance of the human condition, and in that sense it is of equal status with all other situations all over the globe, and throughout history. And because all
are linked in some way or another, and progressively so as the result of the information technology revolution, it belongs to adequately conceptualising the thoughts and feelings of a specific locality that the dimension of the inter, and the impossibility of articulating universals, and the need for dialogue, should be reflected. If a particular philosophy should negate these shifts in reality, it would be disqualified as inadequate. The fact that it seeks dialogue is indicative of the experience of an aporia. It is lack, incompleteness, that is universal. I also tentatively propose
as a more appropriate name for intercultural philosophy in South Africa, in the light of the heavy baggage carried by the concept
. This term not only resonates with contextual theology in taking into account the socio-economic situatedness of all thinking (to which culture belongs), and shares the commitment to liberation, but also carries with it the original meaning of context
to weave, or join together, from different and equal units, an in-betweenity, or inter.
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