Philosophy vs. Anthropology?
With reference to the Journal of Philosophy article ‘What is the Role of Consciousness in Demonstrative thought,’ (January 2011) it seems a tedious point to make, but to conflate conscious perception with sight is an observation (excuse the pun) that holds very much within a Western thought tradition which privileges sight over all the other senses. Yet, as a move in itself, it is demonstrative of that which Philosophy in general takes, and that which, I feel undermines it at the outset. Which is to take a quite specific, Western perception of ‘the world’ and to apply it via rationalist principles to the whole of mankind. In many respects, Anthropology has challenged this, fighting for the space for other peoples’ knowledge of the(ir) world, and in turn, the space within our own to think beyond (or creatively within) prescribed boundaries. Indeed, it seems that Philosophy hasn’t ‘progressed’ in this respect since having found a logic to alleviate itself from epistemological nihilism. The patterned response is generally the same: we must be able to assume the existence of others, we must be able to infer something of other peoples thoughts, and so from the solitary thinking man to the entire worlds’ peoples. It seems in its refute, Philosophy is still stuck in a pendulum: we either can’t understand people’s intentions based on our own thoughts, we are trapped within our own impenetrable consciousness, or we can infer from our own thoughts that of any other person. For all the inconsistencies in its image, not to speak of the flaws in its logical fabric, Anthropology at least defends the right to alterior thought within a Western intellectual tradition.