Yes, I agree that cultural differences are probably geographical, environmental, accidental
. Consider how the weather patterns may influence the outcome of a critical battle in ancient history, which might have caused one warlord instead of another to rise to power, imposing a dynasty of the few over the masses of the many for countless generations, alongside region-specific values that owe their existence to the fear mongering of the few in power, etc.
Western values assign a blank slate to everyone, and are universalizable. Yet these values came from a particular section of the global population, centered around Europe (but also nearby Mediterranean and whatnot). It's not at all difficult to see how someone might derive racist connotations from this (everyone is equal - but only the white man came up with this - so "everyone is equal" but really white men are better than everyone else for their coming up with this and other things
). A lot of Westerners probably do have subconscious racist beliefs even if they think they aren't racist - at least, they probably have vestiges of colonialism (we have to raise up the "other" people to our culture).
So what? Philosophers in the West have generally been white males. Surprisingly, philosophers in China have generally been Asian males. Philosophers in India have almost always been Indian males. Odd how that worked out. — Bitter Crank
Is the difference between Western and Eastern (or African, Latin American, etc) philosophy similar to the difference between analytic and continental philosophy? The latter two study many of the same things (but also some different things), but there's a lack of communication between the two and a lot of misunderstanding. If this is the case with the former then why are we still
only reading European philosophers? Especially if Western philosophy is a search for truth, what's the value of a tradition in the search for truth?
It's not about whose values are 'better'. It's about how important my values are to me. — andrewk
I don't think I can look at things like this, seems to run into relativism. Why
are these values more important to you? Are you implying there's nothing wrong with systematic oppression, death penalties, capitalism, etc?
When I see some values I genuinely have disgust. Treating rape victims without compassion and demanding they continue to have the child (as they do in many countries across the globe and even many citizens in the U.S. wish this were so), is wrong
, and a culture that does not have this is better to me.
Edit: making the link between this post and the OP more explicit. Looking at history gives a continual process from 'non-white' values to 'white values', the idea that the distinction exists is ahistorical. This isn't to say that there aren't variations in morals and ethics with respect to countries, just that the amalgamate of Western values aren't at root, Western, and the West as an ideological construct is part of a whitewashing of history. — fdrake
Interesting, yes. It is as if all the privileged white males get all the respect and honor and attention when there was a ton of work being done by unprivileged, non-white, and non-male people in the background. It is "whitewashed". And it does seem to be racist to continue to act as though it's not this way.