The End of Comparative Philosophy and the Task of Comparative Thinking

Heidegger, Derrida, and Daoism

By Steven Burik

Subjects: Taoism, Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Asian Studies, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9781438427348, 238 pages, July 2010
Hardcover : 9781438427331, 238 pages, September 2009

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Table of contents

1. Heidegger and the Other Commencement 
Heidegger’s Greek Connection
Heidegger and the Poets
poetry and thinking
poetry and language
hölderlin, the foreign, and translation
Heidegger and the “East”
early heidegger and comparative philosophy
later heidegger and comparative philosophy
Concluding Heidegger
2. Derrida: Otherness, Context, and Openness
Deconstructing the Ideas Behind Metaphysics
misreading derrida
beyond heidegger?
Language, Text, and Translation in Derrida
Derrida in Comparative Philosophy
identity and openness
derrida’s hints at different cultures
“the other is already there, irreducibly.”
Concluding Derrida
3. Rereading Daoism; The Other Way
Metaphysical Readings of Daoist Philosophy
The Metaphysical Tradition and Comparison
The Possibility of Difference
interpretations of classical chinese language
Inconstancy of Dao 道: No Transcendence Necessary
inside & outside: the gateway (men 門)
Concluding Daoism
4. Thinking, Philosophy, and Language: Comparing Heidegger, Derrida, and Classical Daoism
Metaphysics, Difference, and Comparisons
difference and comparison
metaphysics and comparison
Thinking and Philosophy
Heidegger and Daoism
derrida and daoism
Language in Comparison
“Beyond” The Inversion of Opposites
Ethical and Political Implications
Concluding the Comparison

A work of and about comparative philosophy that stresses the importance of language in intercultural endeavors.


How do differences in language influence comparative philosophy? Although the Orientalism famously described by Edward Said is rare today, Steven Burik maintains that comparative philosophy often subtly privileges one tradition over another since certain conceptual schemes are so embedded in Western languages that it is difficult not to revert to them. Arguing for a new approach that acknowledges how theory and practice cannot be separated in comparative philosophical endeavors, Burik provides nonmetaphysical, deconstructionist readings of Heidegger and Derrida and uses these to give a new reading of classical Daoism. The ideas of language advanced therein can aid the project of comparative philosophy specifically, and philosophies generally, in trying to overcome ways of thinking that have dominated Western philosophy for twenty-five hundred years and still frustrate intercultural encounters.

Steven Burik teaches philosophy at Singapore Management University and also at the Center for American Education, Broward College, Singapore.


"…Burik's book is an important contribution to contemporary East-West philosophic dialogue." — Philosophy East & West

"Steven Burik's The End of Comparative Philosophy and the Task of Comparative Thinking is a daring and imaginative essay in re-reading Daoism, particularly the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi, based on a philosophy of language deriving from Heidegger and Derrida." — International Journal for Philosophy of Religion