Phenomenology, the Question of Rationality and the Basic Grammar of Intercultural Texts

  • Hwa Yol Jung
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 46)


This essay is an adventure in, and a critical exploration of, the postmodern condition. As a “postparadigm”, postmodernism is a critical response to the disenchanted spectre of modernity — philosophical, scientific, cultural, and above all life-worldly. It is concerned particularly with the translation of Western rationality into the reading of the non-Western world, i.e., the modernist prejudices in the production of intercultural texts on the “politics of modernization”.


Western Philosophy Body Politic Ontological Difference Universal Civilization Marshall McLuhan 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Anne H. Soukhanov, “Word Watch,” The Atlantic, 260 (September 1987): 108. To be sure, postmodernism is a Malthusian, decentered cluster of diversified galaxy of voices, tendencies, trends, and trajectories all with surrounding halos and fuzzy contours whose interplay often seemingly defies a definition of consistent and coherent themes. Often postmodernism is equated with as well as differentiated from such other “postparadigms” as post-metaphysics, post-analytical philosophy, post-structuralism, and — even oxymoronically — post-philosophical philosophy. For extensive discussions on postmodernism, see particularly Ihab Hassan, The Postmodern Turn: Essays in Postmodern Theory and Culture (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1987); Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986); Matei Calinescu, Five Faces of Modernity (Durham: Duke University Press, 1987); and Steven Connor, Postmodernist Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989).Google Scholar
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    In “A Chinese Philosopher’s Theory of Knowledge,” in Our Language and Our World, ed. S. I. Hayakawa (New York: Harper, 1959), pp. 299-224, Tung-sun Chang argues that the logic of correlation is to Chinese thought what the logic of identity is to Western thought. For a superb and detailed discussion concerning how kinaesthetics or the energetics of the body (ch’i) corresponds to the Sinitic logic of yin and yang, see Manfred Porkert, The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Systems of Correspondence (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1974). Scott Warren traces the connection between modern Western dialectical theory and contemporary political inquiry in The Emergence of Dialectical Theory: Philosophy and Political Inquiry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).Google Scholar
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    Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), p. 4. In Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), William Desmond coins the term “metaxological” in an attempt to clarify “the problematic, ambiguous status of otherness in an exclusively dialectical approach”: “[t]his neologism [the metaxological], despite its unpleasing sound, has a very specific significance for our purposes, for it is composed of the Greek words metaxu (in between, middle, intermediate) and logos (word, discourse, account, speech). The metaxalogical relation has to do with a logos of the metaxu, a discourse concerning the middle, of the middle and in the middle. Thus it has a close affinity with the dialectical relation in as much as this may involve dialogue (dialectic as dialegein). For, like the dialectical relation, the metaxological relation affirms that the self and the other are neither absolutely the same nor absolutely different. But, unlike the dialectical, it does not confine the mediation of external difference to the side of the self. It asserts, rather, that external difference can be mediated from side of the other, as well as from that of the self. For the other, as much as the self, may be internally differentiated, imminently intricate; hence, it too can enter the middle space between itself and the self and from there mediate, after its own manner, their external difference” (p. 7).Google Scholar
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    Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, ed. Claude Lefort and trans. Alphonso Lingis (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1968), p. 94. For a brief account of Merleau-Ponty’s hyperdialectic and hyper-reflection (sur-reflexion) as the method of deconstruction, see Rodolphe Gasché, “Deconstruction as Criticism,” Glyph, 6 (1979): 184-189. The composer Leonard Bernstein plays with the term ambiguity in grafting his theory of music with Noam Chomsky’s linguistics. See The Unanswered Question (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hwa Yol Jung
    • 1
  1. 1.Moravian CollegeUSA

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