The Concept of Encounter of Cultures in the Philosophy of History

The Concept of Encounter of Cultures in the Philosophy of History

ABSTRACT: A general problem of philosophical interests concerns the possibility of objective knowledge of other cultures and a past culture, as well as the adequacy of their reconstruction. The problem of cultural development is also crucial. By the criterion I develop, a culture which has expanded its potentialities in various independent forms is an open culture able to enter into dialogue with any other culture.

1. To begin with, I must mention that at first I intended to present my paper at the Section of Philosophy of History, because the point at issue here has a great concern to the concept of history and to the methodological approaches of historians. Something must be changed in the attitude of historians and brought in accordance with cultural studies and ideas of the philosophy of culture, I think. A kind of etatism is prevailing in the minds of historians when they perceive the history of mankind as a succession of Principalities, States and Empires, Universal States and Great Powers and leave out of vision the historical mosaic of cultures which really comes down from remote past and which is the real essence, value and the very vocation, if you please, of the existence of a human, and of peoples. A people becomes conscious of its Self through its culture, and the historical lifetime of a people is measured by the duration of its culture.

2. The problem of encounter of cultures has a number of particular aspects belonging to universal history, ethnology, archaeology, social and ethnical psychology, sociology, law, etc. But a general - though abstract - idea of this crucial phenomenon of human society and history one can get viewing it from t...

... middle of paper ..., 1996; Hobsbawm, E.J. Nations and Nationalism since 1780. Cambridge, G.B., New York , N.Y.: Cambridge Univ. Press,1993.

(17) Devine, P.E. Human Diversituy and the Culture Wars. Westport,CT: Praeger Publ., 1996, p. XYII-XYIII.

(18) Braun,H., Klooss,W. (eds.) Multiculturalism in North America and Europe.Trier: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 1995.

(19) Kroeber, A.L. Op.cit.., p. 379-395.

(20) The problems of historical reconstruction are analysed in my books: Gevorkian, H.A. An Essay on Historical Methodology of Science. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences Press, 1987; Gevorkian, H.A. National culture in Philosophy of History Viewpoint. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences Press, 1992, and in ch. 1 and ch.2 of the book: The Method of Historical Reconstruction in the History of Science. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences Press, 1992 (in Russian).
Get Access