The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 7, 2007

Philosophy of Culture(s)

Helmut Heit
Pages 99-103

Euro-Centrism and What We Owe the Ancient Greeks

Globalisation seems to be especially the Westernisation of the World. One of the crucial elements of (Western) European cultural identity is the reference to its scientific and philosophical inheritance. European culture is held to be rooted in ancient Greece, where a unique, historically inevitable and irreversible transition from myth to reason is thought to have taken place. I shall try to re-examine this still predominant view to clarify the elements of Western thought by comparing it with its historical predecessors in ancient Greek mythology in order to discuss its Euro-centric elements. For this purpose, two questions have to be asked: What is so special about ancient Greek philosophy? And how and why did it come into being? The arguments given to solve the first question are hardly convincing. If we might not be able to give a satisfying answer, the search for the reasons to come up with something like Western philosophy are becoming more important.