Martine Berenpas is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the Institute for Philosophy.
In my research I reflect on the comparative aspect of intercultural philosophy, in which I address the problematic nature of the assertion of commonality. Research in intercultural philosophy is motivated by the assertion of commonality, the desire to discern similarities and differences between two different cultures. Studies conducted in intercultural philosophy however rarely reflect on how the intercultural philosophers’ own pre-comparative knowledge and presuppositions influence the comparison at stake. I particularly focus on studies that compare the thinking of Emmanuel Levinas to the early Daoist writings of the Zhuāngzǐi, given that these studies bring two philosophies into comparison through assuming several commonalities between these thinkers. These studies however fail to address that both Levinas as the Zhuāngzǐ think difference as difference and argue that comparison relies on standards that are either impossible to establish or reduce that what is other to the same. I show that these thinkers are however important to comparative philosophy and can provide us with a new method on how we can engage in intercultural thinking. Levinas’ formulation of “infinite responsibility to the Other” and the Zhuāngzǐ’s focus on “the pivot of dào” enable us to envision philosophy and philosophical methodology in a different way. Philosophy is for Levinas and the Zhuāngzǐ not about establishing what is “objectively true” and intercultural philosophy is not about comparing objectified positions or different cultural frameworks. Instead, philosophical reflection moves toward the other and the other’s perspectives, and on that basis pursues what responsibility to the other consists in.
BA, Ma (Leiden University), Bsc, Msc (Health psychology, Leiden University). I taught feminist theory, Chinese philosophy and the mimetic theory of Girard. Recently I joined the board of the Levinas Studiekring.
On Facing one’s students: The re. levance of Emmanuel Levinas on teaching in times of Covid-19. Journal of Philosophy of Education (2021).
“The Ethics of Torture” In: Introduction to Ethics. Edited by Noah Levin. 2020.
Fields of interest
- Comparative philosophy
- Continental philosophy
- Feminist Theory
No relevant ancillary activities