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The Methodology of Philosophical Practice: Eclecticism and/or Integrativeness?

Abstract

The need for philosophical practice to integrate various methods, both conceptual and those based on the use of emotions, raises the question as to whether its methodology is necessarily eclectic, in terms of the collection of various methodologies used in philosophy, or whether there is a way to move beyond eclecticism. This is the main subject of this paper. In other words, the question is whether there is such a thing as an ‘integrative’ methodology and, if so, what distinguishes such a method from mere eclecticism. In this text, we define the methodological procedure of integrativeness as the process of systematizing perspectives into an orientational answer to the demands of a specific problem. What differentiates such an approach from mere summation is a new contribution that results from a synergistic and systematic meeting of positions and argumentations whose final result differs from its initial elements. Diversity in the form of a multidimensional relationship towards life and the world results in numerous perspectives, which is a value that should be cultivated and integrated into a reflective and actional perception of the world.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term ‘ocularcentrism’ is a product of a belief that in the Western culture knowledge is predominately determined by the visual paradigm, which reflects in the Western philosophy as well. The term was introduced by Martin Jay (1988, 1991) who developed a concept of ‘scopic regimes’ to explain the interplay of theory and praxis of visuality that dominates in a certain historical period. Ocularcentrism generally claims that in every given period in Western culture (and philosophy) a certain kind of scopic regime was at place, ie that the visual paradigm takes different forms. The scopic regime of the modernity is identified as ‘Cartesian perspectivism’ (subject and objects are detached, transcendental subject determines the object: subject receives information from the outside world and reflects them thus himself becoming the center of the world and, in effect, its creator). However, every scopic regime, every form of ocularcentrism, including the Cartesian perspectivism, is challenged by antiocularcentrism, which is especially prominent in the modern art with its subversive inclinations. (Jay 1988, Jay 1991, Rukavina 2010)

  2. 2.

    The expression ‘worldview’ (Weltanschauung) comes from Kant (2000: 138), however he applied a different meaning to it. Here we rely on the determining of world-views suggested by variuous thinkers, eg Heidegger (‘unconscious intelligence’, ‘the independent formative process of intuition’, Heidegger 1982: 4, 6) or DeWitt (‘intertwined, interrelated, interconnected system of beliefs’, DeWitt 2010: 7). In the context of perspectivism, the specific ‘interests’ of the knower that are interconnected and not always reflected upon are more often discussed than world-view.

  3. 3.

    Although it is likely obvious, the following should be mentioned: the expressions ‘to have one’s own truth’ and ‘closed perspectivism’ do not imply an opinion on the kind of conceptual autism that could be compared with extreme subjectivism or individual relativism. To claim that each person is ‘the measure of all things’ would lead to a solipsism that neither Nietzsche nor any other serious philosophical viewpoint can accept.

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Acknowledgments

A part of this research was supported under Marie Curie Newfelpro funding scheme (CONVINce-ME project, FP7-PEOPLE-2011-COFUND program; Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport). The project was hosted by the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr University Bochum. The research for the article also arises from Project no. 179049 (“Policies of Remembrance and National Identity: The Regional and European Context”) funded by the Serbian Ministry of Education and Research, which is implemented by the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, 2010–2015.

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Correspondence to Aleksandar Fatić.

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Fatić, A., Zagorac, I. The Methodology of Philosophical Practice: Eclecticism and/or Integrativeness?. Philosophia 44, 1419–1438 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-016-9770-3

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Keywords

  • Philosophical practice
  • Methodology
  • Eclecticism
  • Pluri-perspectivism
  • Integrativeness