The search for Filipino Philosophy
Is there a Filipino Philosophy? I read an essay titled “Doing Philosophy in the Philippines” by Dr. Afredo P. Co and his answer to this question can be summarized this way: Since the Philippines is a melting pot of cultures brought about by invasions, missionaries, trade etc. the Philippines has no distinctive and native philosophy to speak of. He goes on to say that the Philippines is a Spanish creation and an amalgam of east, west, north, south, Christian, pagan, Malayan, Muslim etc. cultures. “Ours is the identity of the new age—ambivalent, polymorphous, processual, always becoming.” According to Dr. Co, philosophy as a formal discourse is a Spanish import. Dr. Co is writing with a postmodern perspective. (His essay is part of an essay collection titled “Two Filipino Thomasian --from the University of Stro. Thomas and not Aquinas--Philosophers on Postmodernism.”)
I don’t know if I’m (an old college student) qualified to challenge a professional philosopher’s essay but since Dr. CO not reading this blog, I’ll try with the knowledge that my arguments can be destroyed by the touch of his (or anyone’s’) pinky.
First what is the measure of a thing before it can be called a philosophy? Is it formalism? A system? Because if the search for the Filipino philosophy is the search for a philosophy patterned after the Graeo-Roman-Jewish-English-German etc. system of Philosophy then the wrong instrument is being used. What one will find is a Graeco-Roman etc. philosophy because there’s a template, a fingerprint already at hand to act as a reference to whatever is being searched, hence to fail to measure up to that reference meant failure in identification. What tool must we use in searching for Filipino Philosophy? That is the first question in the exploration for the search for Filipino Philosophy. I think the western philosophical tools are inadequate or inappropriate for this task. Then what is? I don’t know but I think this is...
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