In today‘s discussion in class, we touched a very interesting debate about what Philosophy actually is. In fact, as Dr. J pointed out quite clear, the agents who are engaged in Philosophy have changed a lot during the last couple of decades. Of course, only compared to the centuries before. So, the question came up, whether it can be considered Philosophy, if we talk about topics like race and gender of human beings.
In my opinion, it cannot be called Philosophy but still is very closely tied to it. Why is that the case? The “science” of Philosophy is defined as the “love of wisdom”. What is wisdom? From my point of view, wisdom should consider everything, not only race and gender and those sorts of aspects that define a part of human beings but will never be able to really tell, what and who a human being is. Therefore, it is necessary that we consider gender and race as one aspect of human beings, but we ought not assess these aspects too much.
This statement is supported by a very interesting clip that can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yMLZO-sObzQ
For those of you, who don‘t have time to watch it, it shows a young man who was raised by two women, speaking in the Iowa House of Representatives. He clearly points out that he is in fact no different from other children that were raised in, what we tend to call “normal” families.
Another point that came to my mind during that discussion today was the question, if humans are really capable of making universal statements. Even in Philosophy, can we ever reach the point at which we can say that the statement or the assumption X is really true for everybody? Clearly, Philosophy as we know it can be considered a western “invention”. So, how could it be the case that people from that cultural background make statements that are universal true or make assumptions that include everybody on this planet. Isn‘t that always just something like a personal assumption from a very subjective point of view?
So, all in all, critical race theory and the feminist approaches are not Philosophy - at least in my point of view. This sounds pretty negative, but it would like to make sure that I don‘t want to give any value - either good nor bad - to the word “Philosophy”. So, by saying “this is not Philosophy” it is not said that it is a bad approach. All these theories have very interesting claims that can help Philosophy, but are themselves no Philosophy.