Comparative philosophy is lively and the field is diverse and assembles different, sometimes even contradictory views. In his contribution to the edited volume ”Comparative Methods in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences”, Ralph Weber presents these different views and then proceeds to deal with the current conceptualisation of the logic of comparison, with specific attention for diminishing bias and the adequacy of bases of comparison. He helpfully states that one way of investigating the inner dynamics of a given comparison is to ask a set of questions: Who is performing the comparison? What commonality supports the choice of what has to be compared? What is being compared with what? In what respect(s) does the comparer compare that which they compare? What relation results from comparing what the comparer compares in that particular respect? How does the choice of the pre-comparative tertium restrict the realm of possible tertia comparationis? How does a chosen tertium comparationis qualify the comparanda? And what role does the comparanda play in the result of the comparison? Each of these questions reveals an enormous complexity, and the answers may be subject to criticism or require further clarification and substantiation. Moreover, most if not all of these questions are highly relevant for comparative legal research too. Weber also deals with some specific issues, such as generalisation, one-sidedness, and the identification of similarities and differences.
In a recent interview Ralph Weber, Principle Investigator in the Reversing the Gaze project, discussed his vision of a post-comparative philosophy with Nevad Kahteran (University of Sarajevo). The discipline, he says, should allow philosophers to be informed by a global outlook and use a variety of styles and conceptualizations from different traditions.
Weber seeks to address the issues of Eurocentrism and methodological problems in comparative philosophy. His book “Comparative Philosophy without Borders” (co-edited with Arindam Chakrabarti) analyzes previous approaches to comparative philosophy and offers paths towards post-comparative avenues.
In this paper, three of our project team: Shalini Randeria (Fellow), Deval Desai (Principal Investigator) and Christine Lutringer (Researcher) demonstrate a set of unintended political and institutional effects of the emergency mobilisation of unspent social welfare funds under Covid-19.
This article was originally written for Global Challenges: