The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 7, 2007

Philosophy of Culture(s)

Bo Mou
Pages 141-147

Three Orientation and Four 'Sins' in Comparative Studies

In this paper, I give a metaphilosophical examination of three major orientations in comparative studies (i.e., historical one, interpretation-concerned one, and philosophical-issue-concerned one) and four 'sins' that are oft-cited in critically evaluating a comparative study, namely over-simplification, over-use of external resources, exaggerated distinction, and blurring assimilation. I argue that the appropriateness of these 'sins' depends on orientations, purposes and methodological approaches in comparative studies and that, in those comparative studies with the interpretation-concerned and philosophicalissue- concerned orientations, due simplification, use of external resources and assimilation are not merely legitimate but also adequate or even necessary. In so doing, I explain how constructive engagement between Chinese and Western philosophy, or, more generally speaking, between different philosophical traditions, is related to contemporary development and resources of philosophy.