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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 37, Issue Supplement, 2012

Selected Papers from the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Nkolo Foé
Pages 19-28

Relativisme et polarisation du monde
Une contradiction majeure du capitalisme historique

Relativism issues occur in a context characterised by the resurfacing of culturalism and attempts to substitute historical causality based on class struggles with a new causality based on great cycles of civilizations and culture clashes. Symptons include rejection of class struggle, biologisation and culturalisation of social inequalities, and denial of universal values—all linked to the delegitimisation of emancipatory reason, which supposes an ethical approach to social and global issues. In Europe, from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth, destruction of reason and the neglect of universal values by institutions of capitalism led to the barbaric conquest of non-European societies. In these societies, emancipatory reason and philosophies of freedom have an important role to play in social redemption. The major challenge they face is how to help man free himself from the intolerable universe of constraint (determined by relativism), and bring him to a level of consciousness where freedom of choice is possible. This entails the rehabilitation of universal values and the inscription of the ethics of responsibility at the core of any vision of an alternative modernity.

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