Centre for Social and Political Thought, School of History, Art History and Philosophy, University of Sussex
Chinese philosophy is little known in France and is notgenerally recognised by twenty-first century French philosophers as a philosophy. They often regard its contributions as wisdom, thought or spirituality. But when we study it in detail, we are clearly faced with a philosophy. Why then is Chinese philosophy isolated from philosophy in France? Is it perhaps only the Western world that has the right and ability to think? Does not China also think? This paper attempts to understand this state of affairs by seeking clues that might explain why the notion that Chinese philosophy is not philosophy remains prevalent in France today. This issue may be understood if we place it in the context of the relationship between the West and the others, and therefore in a colonialist orientalist and eurocentrist perspective. It is possibly because the world remains caught in a persistent intellectual coloniality and an entrenched eurocentrism of thought, such that the West does not recognise the philosophies of ‘others’. The West still occupies the epistemological centre of the world and constitutes a unique reference point of knowledge. Finally, some solutions could be sought in order to decentralise philosophy, by opening up possibilities for the diversification and localisation of knowledge and ‘provincializing’ the West in philosophy.
Studies in Social and Political Thought 19, pp.9-23