Seven Milestones in the History of Thought LO12748

Jacqueline Mullen (
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 08:19:56 +0100 (ITA)

Replying to LO12538 --

Responding to Seven Milestones in the History of Thought LO12538

With all due respect for the content of your message -- John, please, (she
says jestfully) do something with that title! "Seven Milestones in the
History of Thought" has such an imposing, universal tang to it. I suppose
"Seven Milestones in the History of Thought in the Western Philosophical
Tradition as a Framework for Scientific Inquiry" doesn't exactly have much
economy of style, but, well,'s just that I'm imagining shamans
throughout the world cringing in forlorn abandon at the idea of seemingly
not being included in an History of Thought. I'm also feeling rather
overlooked as I flit through misty, non-linear dew in the flowered fields
of participatory consciousness. Multiculturalism seems to have been
thrown to the wind.

I wouldn't bring this up if it weren't for the quite unpleasant fact that
many of the "fathers of Western philosophy" were rather uppity stinkers
who, unable to shake off the shackles of their cultural baggage, seem to
have hardly ever minded their own P's and Q's. Setting, in the process,
more milestones than bargained for.

As it is, traditional accounts of the history of the Western philosophy
remind me of those clever posters alla New Yorker that one used to see
everywhere. The world according to New Yorkers, Londoners, Parisians,
etc., with the city of choice looming huge and dominant in the foreground,
the oceans and lands beyond small and insignificant.

So one finds that, for instance, while Aristotle was articolating his
categories and syllogisms, he wasn't contented to end there. He
magnanimously considered his own inventiveness as "better" thinking, not
hesitating, as was the wont of his day, to denigrate the mental capacities
of the women and slaves he considered his inferiors. This, I daresay, was
an even more enduring milestone. The idea that the ways of the
"rational", white, Western male are the standards against which all should
be measured has proven a niggardly persistent one.


Jackie Mullen

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