Methodologies of Comparative Philosophy

The Pragmatist and Process Traditions

By Robert W. Smid

Subjects: Asian Religion And Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Philosophy, History Of Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9781438428307, 298 pages, July 2010
Hardcover : 9781438428291, 298 pages, October 2009

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Table of contents


1. William Ernest Hocking: Comparative Philosophy for the "Emerging world Culture"
2. Filmer S. C. Northrop: Comparative Philosophy as Comparative Ideology

3. David Hall and Roger Ames: Comparative Philosophy as the Philosophy of Culture

4. Robert C. Neville: Comparative Philosophy as Systematic Philosophy

5. Revisiting the Twain

Works Cited

A much-needed consideration of methodology in comparative philosophy.


What is comparative philosophy? This question is ultimately a methodological one according to this much-needed book. The cultivation of area studies in diverse traditions has opened up opportunities for cross-cultural understanding that have rarely existed before, and comparative philosophy is a rapidly emerging area of inquiry. Yet, surprisingly little has been written on comparative methodology in philosophy. Of course, there is much at stake in how we compare things: how comparison is done determines what comparison is. Author Robert W. Smid provides a critical review of four of the most influential comparative methodologies within the American pragmatist and process philosophical traditions, those of William Ernest Hocking, F. S. C. Northrop, Robert Cummings Neville, and David L. Hall in collaboration with Roger T. Ames. Discussing the history of each methodology's development and critically assessing its strengths and weaknesses, Smid demonstrates that it is possible to compare methods as well as traditions and encourages those interested to join the contemporary conversation.

Robert W. Smid is Senior Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at Curry College.


"The genius of Methodologies of Comparative Philosophy lies in its singular accomplishment of laying out and critically assessing some of the existing methods in this still very young field … those who wish to venture into this field of inquiry would be well advised to carefully read and digest Methodologies of Comparative Philosophy. " — American Journal of Theology & Philosophy