Hoe om die geskiedenis van die filosofie weer te gee : 'n verkenning van wysgerige historiografiese probleme en metodes : navorsings- en oorsigartikel

Hierdie artikel behels 'n ondersoek na 'n gepaste metode om die geskiedenis van die filosofie weer te gee. So 'n wysgerige historiografie behels 'n besondere uitdaging aangesien dit die 2500-jarige Westerse denke, honderde individuele filosowe se stelsels en die wye veld van filo...

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Published in: Tydskrif vir geesteswetenskappe Vol. 53; no. 1; pp. 1 - 15
Main Author: Van der Walt, B.J
Format: Journal Article
Language: Afrikaans
Published: Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns 03-01-2013
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Summary: Hierdie artikel behels 'n ondersoek na 'n gepaste metode om die geskiedenis van die filosofie weer te gee. So 'n wysgerige historiografie behels 'n besondere uitdaging aangesien dit die 2500-jarige Westerse denke, honderde individuele filosowe se stelsels en die wye veld van filosofie as sodanig moet dek. Die eerste, inleidende afdeling vestig die aandag op 'n aantal moeilike struikelblokke of probleme op die pad van die wysgerige historiograaf. Die tweede afdeling van die arlikel gee in voelvlug 'n oorsig oor verskeie vroeëre en gangbare metodes. Daaronder val die volgende: pogings om individuele filosofieë as vertrekpunt te gebruik, 'n kronologiese aanpak, 'n psigologiesetnografiese metode, indelings in breë tydvakke, vanuit verskillende denkstrominge asook probleem- en lewensbeskoulikgerigte benaderings. Verder word die aandag gevestig op die rol wat elke historiograaf se eie voorveronderstellings in sy verkose metode speel asook die dikwels gepaardgaande terminologiese verwarring tussen verskillende metodologieë. Die derde hoofdeel formuleer, in die lig van al die leemtes wat in die eerste twee geïdentifiseer is, die belangrikste kriteria waaraan 'n wysgerige historiografie behoort te beantwoord. Hierdie maatstawwe sluit die volgende in: konsekwentheid tussen die geskiedskrywer se eie vertrekpunt en sy metode(s); dat dit sowel konsekwent histories as filosofies moet wees; konsekwente probleemgerigtheid, met die gebruikmaking van eenduidige terminologie en dat dit ook prakties beproef behoort te wees. Ten slotte word die aandag daarop gevestig dat so 'n konsekwente historiografiese metode vir die filosofie wel bestaan en afsonderlike bespreking in 'n opvolgartikel verdien. How to portray the history of philosophy : exploring philosophical historiographic problems and methodologies To design an appropriate methodology to study the approximate 2500 years of Western philosophy, inclusive of many individual philosophers, constitutes a quite daunting challenge. Nevertheless, it is of vital importance that it be attempted since one's methodology predetermines one's final results. While reflecting a scholar's own presuppositions on the one hand, the chosen method should simultaneously not force history into a pre-conceived scheme on the other. Furthermore, in attempting to do justice to its wide field of investigation, the proposed methodology should at the very least be both fully historical and clearly philosophical in nature. Philosophic historiographers of the past, however, tended to emphasise either the historical development or the philosophical problems or ideas. More stumbling blocks on the way are for example: the influence of broader and narrower views on the field of investigation of philosophy on its historiography, criteria for determining either the importance or unimportance of a specific philosopher or school of philosophy, the choice between either the present day relevance of its history or faithfulness to the ancient birth of Western philosophy in Greece. In order to highlight their strengths and weaknesses, the second part of this essay provides a brief survey of various methodologies. Some textbooks on the history of philosophy, or anthologies containing selections from the writings of past philosophers, simply make a selection of those philosophers whom the writer/editor himself regards as of importance. A second group prefers to follow a chronological method. The third employs a kind of psychological ethnic approach, taking the "soul" of a nation as vantage point, dividing history into, for example, German, French, English and other national philosophies. Many others approach the history of philosophy from the perspective of different epochs and accordingly divide it into pre-modern (ancient), medieval, modern and postmodern eras. Others again, prefer a more detailed division into successive centuries, characterised for example as "the age of belief", "the age of reason", etcetera. Then there are those who further subdivide the centuries into smaller, different philosophical currents. Apart from these synchronic methods, several diachronic methods were also developed. Examples discussed in the overview are various "history of ideas" methods, as well as a worldviewish approach. In the light of the preceding information, the third main section of the article attempts to formulate essential criteria for a more comprehensive and appropriate historiographical method of research: (1) a historian of philosophy should openly and clearly state the relationship between his own philosophical viewpoint and his method of describing the history of philosophy; (2) it should be consistently philosophical in nature; (3) consistently historical and (4) problem directed; (5) consistent in the terminology applied and (6) experimentally tested. The whole exploration is concluded with a brief review as well as the preview of a follow on article in which the origin, basic contours and critical appraisal of the consistent problem historical method of philosophical historiography of prof D.H Th. Vollenhoven (1892-1975) and his followers will be discussed.
ISSN: 0041-4751