Philosophical orientalism in comparative philosophy of religion: Hegel to Habermas


  • Purushottama Bilimoria


The paper examines how “natural” philosophical theology is developed in Hegel from a comparative perspective when Hegel charts a history or rather epistemological diagram of world theologies, and locates within this idiosyncratic matrix the respective theologies and cultures of Western, Eastern and other civilizations. The paper demonstrates how Hegel’s thinking and trajectory has had an indelible impact in the Philosophy of Religion discourse, particularly where there is both a silence on and attempted inclusion, or systematic exclusion, of the comparable and incomparable theological cultures other than of the West. For example, the influence on Habermas who attempts to come to terms with religion in his otherwise secular-Enlightenment (neo-Kantian) philosophy bereft of metaphysics and theo-philosophy. How this discourse fares in the perspectives also of Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and Zîzêk on world theologies is visited toward showing how tragically ill the closed fields of philosophical studies in the West augurs for religious cultures and philosophies of the West’s others that Hegel along with other 19th century philosophes had placed outside the bounds of rational significance or Vernunft.


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