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Revista Diacrítica

Print version ISSN 0807-8967


MARTINS, Pedro. The problem of national philosophies and philosophy as universal knowledge: the portuguese case. Diacrítica [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.2, pp.63-87. ISSN 0807-8967.

We aim at a critical evaluation of the concepts of “national philosophy,” and / or “fatherland philosophy” in general as well as, and more specifically, in relation to Portugal. We wish to reach a universalistic perspective -not to be associated to the philosophia perennis- of Portuguese philosophy and its history. Except in a nominalist sense, the concept of national philosophy is ambiguous since it is linked to the modern concept of nation and according to different usage and connotations, may have contradictory implications for a primordialistic notion of “Portuguese philosophy.” The defense of a fatherland philosophy may end up with the same difficulties: national culture is not homogeneous and does not presuppose a single philosophy. The relationship between philosophy and culture is not univocal or transparent; given its themes and problems and its critical character it is not to be reduced to the mere expression of collective genius or identity; the character in Portuguese philosophy must not be faced in a particularistic sense. The “linguistic stand point” is only defensible if we admit the relationship between language/culture, on one hand, and thought/philosophy, on the other, in an essentialist and exclusivist way, which is not plausible under Philosophy of Language. “Portuguese philosophy” is a language game, among many others, that contradicts the universalist character of philosophy in Portugal and its own sources of influence (Coimbra, Bruno). The teaching of philosophy in Portugal must reflect a pluralistic and critical value.

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