23 SES 10 D, Diversity as a System of Exclusion: Historical Notes on Contemporary Thought (Part 1)
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 11 D
In a 2014 published article, social psychologist Thomas Talhelm stated, that in China people think in very different ways about the world and about social relation according to the region they live in, allowing for different agricultures. Whereas in the north of China, due to weather conditions, farmers were planting wheat, the farmers in the south were producing rice; both depending on different labor requirements. Whereas the production of paddy rice asks for large cooperation, wheat cultivation is produced more individually. These different production forms, in turn, have led to different ways to understand the world and the functioning of the social. Whereas in the region of rice production a holistic world view emerged and a collective attitude, in the region of wheat production a more analytic world combined with a more individualistic attitude. These conclusions would not have surprised exponents of early Enlightenment, such as Montesquieu, Rousseau, or Pestalozzi. To Montesquieu, in his seminal The Spirit of Laws (1748), it was clear that “the temper of the mind and the passions of the heart are extremely different in different climates”, so that “the laws ought to be relative both to the variety of those passions, and to the variety of those tempers” (Book 12). These natural differences, taken for granted until the middle of the 18th century, remained popular until the critical, called Copernical revolution in Immanuel Kant’s thinking. Whereas in his so-called pre-critical phase Kant defended climatic influences, his Copernical turn – more a turn to the alleged sphere of the Protestant soul – to the pure reason in theoretical (1781/1787) and in practical (1785/1788) respect involved the ignorance of climatic differences in thinking and in ethical respects. Instead of variety unity and equality dominated as theoretical and moral ideal, escorted and reinforced by the French ideals of freedom and equality, degrading any variances, also the natural ones, to morally illegitimate varieties.
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