Volume 1, 1983
Eröffnungs- und Schluß-Sitzung - Plenarsitzungen - Abendvorträge
Diversite des cultures et conception du monde
PLURALITY OF CULTURES AND WORLDOUTLOOK
After pointing out the multifaceted character of the word “culture”, the author declares that he intends to analyse the subject according to two comple- mentary angles: one related to the researcher himself, the other to the term “culture” in its broad philosophical and anthropological sense.
In conformity with the first of these two perspectives, every culture is personal in the sense that, even when dealing with physical and mathematical Sciences, these are closely related to each researcher’s personality and therefore to his theoretical points of view. The existence of such postulates, necessarily axiological, is recognized in all the fields of knowledge by the present “Theory of Knowledge” and one may say that every man is a point of view on the world. In a certain way it is a return to Leibniz’s thesis, according to which each monad is a mirror that reflects the universe.
It is not however necessary to conceive each monad as an “ens a se” unre- lated to the others. The isolation of the individual cultures would not be under- standable nowadays due to the growing demand of interdisciplinarity in the various fields of investigation. It is in the light of this that the universality of Problems should be tackled and any aim at reaching an “encyclopedic knowledge”, as a mere sum of results, should be rejected. It is rather in a System of multiple perspectives which transcends any false reductionism that a correlation between imago hominis and imago mundi is established.
The author asserts that it is necessary to transpose the question, as Heidegger had already out, from the epistemological to the ontological plan, taking into consideration the concrete temporaüty of the various cultural areas over which the humanity is distributed.
He Claims that what interests him in the present study is not the succession of cultures but its contemporariness in the sense that Croce attributed to this term. The author focuses preferably on the distinctions and correlations among the ones which, according to Archie J. Bahm, would be the fundamental cultures of our time: the European, the Indian and the Chinese. He does not seem to accept any concept of the world when there is an abstraction of the deepest roots of each cultural process, also because of the different meaning that ideas acquire when theoretical European models are transposed to other cultural contexts. From this derives the interest represented not only by the compara- tive study of cultures, in an empirical and scientific level, but also by the philosophical investigation of their values and structures, which has led some thin- kers to consider the possibility of a “ comparative philosophy” which is different from the comparative study of different philosophies.
The author discusses, then, nihilism as a consequence of the deforming action of technology (Heidegger) in parallel with the concept of McLuhan’s “tribal society”. At last he asks if the growing demand for interdisciplinarity, besides reopening the debate about the possible unity of Sciences, does not bring up old and apparently resolved questions about the nature of men, with the corresponding investigation of the meaning of Science for mankind. Accor- ding to what has been exposed, the question of the concept of the world, without losing its epistemological focus, because of the diversity and conple- mentarity of the areas of knowledge, goes back to the ontological principles which condition not only the anthropological view but also the cosmological, which are correlated aspects of the same fundamental question. Thence, the author’s conclusion that the concept of the world cannot derive only from complementary results of the various Sciences because it is also an interaction between cultures.