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Filipino Philosophy Amidst Globalization

The members of UP KAPPP

The members of UP KAPPP

As the world becomes smaller and smaller through mass media, social media, computers, and the internet, cultures are threatened by the influx of others from around the globe. Importantly, Filipino culture, young as it is, is definitely feared to be threatened. This culture includes Filipino Philosophy which is yet to grow as a body of recognized indigenous philosophy.

Filipino Philosophy does not enjoy the same prestige, acceptance, and structure which Filipino Psychology or Sikolohiyang Pilipino does. When asked about Filipino psychology, psychology majors in my university would immediately respond with a standard set of concepts. Philosophy majors, when asked about Filipino Philosophy on the other hand, would either render a clueless face or argue whether or not they believe its existence. This may primarily be attributed to the fact that psychology majors are required to take Psychology 108 (Sikolohiyang Pilipino) while Philosophy 196 (Mga Paksa sa Pilosopiyang Pilipino), on the contrary, is offered only as an elective to those majoring in philosophy. Interestingly, the father of Filipino Psychology, Virgilio Enriquez, graduated with a degree in philosophy but took a masters’ degree in Psychology and created a body of indigenous psychology rather than indigenous philosophy (although some of his writings are read in Philosophy 196 class).

Ultimately, the greatest reason behind this is that a canonical Filipino Philosophy has not yet been extracted from the Filipino experience unlike that of Filipino Psychology. In Psychology 108, they talk about kapuwa, sarili, and ibang-tao, to cite a few examples. However, Philosophy 196, rather than talking about concepts of Filipino Philosophy, talks about how and where to find such concepts. Although there are studies of indigenous ethical frameworks or of an indigenous world-view, these are considered only as case studies which consequently are not accepted as universal. In his Paghahanap ng Weltanschauung ng mga Pilipino, Dr. Manuel Dy Jr. said that a Filipino experience must be assumed first in search of a Filipino world-view or Weltanschauung.

As cited and adapted by Dr. Dy in his article, Dr. Ramon Reyes said that there are two kinds of Filipino thought: the vital and the reflexive. The vital thought is that which creates mythologies, legends, proverbs, talinghaga, language, rituals, and the like, while the reflexive thought facilitates analysis, reasoning, and so forth. It is also the reflexive thought that reconciles contradicting parts of the vital thought caused by contextual changes and the Filipino’s desire for progress; the reflexive thought is therefore a reconstruction of the Filipino thought. According to Dr. Dy, it is in the vital thought of the Filipino where we should find an indigenous world-view or philosophy. A Filipino philosophy has not yet been extracted from this thought which is now seen to be threatened by the transmission and exchange of cultures brought about by globalization.

We should be reminded that globalization should not be seen as a threat to Filipino culture, more so in Filipino Philosophy. It is in our Filipino experience and vital thought that Filipino Philosophy should be extracted and the arrival of globalization should no longer be seen as a foreign parasite that sucks out the Filipino-ness in our experience. According to the same article by Dr. Dy, the past, present, and future, make up our experience as a people; this experience includes the phenomenon of globalization and how we react to it. The past is also not as static as it may seem: as we relive history, we make new sense that might have been buried in oblivion before. Now, amidst globalization, our history may tell us something more than what our predecessors might have thought it said. In Heidegger’s term, this is the concept of creative repetition in which the repetition of the past is not passive but creative; history is alive, is within us, and can therefore be repeated in order to construe new meaning from it.

It is quite sad that Filipino Philosophy is yet to be found. However, there is good reason why we shouldn’t be: the Filipino experience still continues to enrich itself amidst globalization. Only time will tell when the Filipino experience is ripe for an indigenous philosophy, a way of life, a world-view, or a Weltanschauung, and globalization just might be the wick we avoid lighting; we must not greet it with reluctance but with much enthusiasm in anticipation of what we would become after it has manifested itself to us. Besides, a gadfly was needed to produce a Plato; let us then be disturbed by globalization.

Ang UP Kalipunan para sa Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiyang Pilipino o UP KAPPP ay isang pang-kolehiyong akademikong organisasyong nakabase sa College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP Diliman. Pangunahing sinusulong nito ang multi-disiplinaryong pag-aaral ng Pagsasapilipino ng Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiya.


2 thoughts on “Filipino Philosophy Amidst Globalization

  1. It would be nice if UP KAPPP would pioneer researches and studies on these attempt to localize, indigenize, or what have you, kahit sa undergrad level pa lang. Comment ko lang din generally to CSSP students, you are so optimistic during undergrad, but when the challenge to specialize on your respective undergrad fields, you choose to go to Law or Med or MBA. I’d like to see a future where undergrads, with their idealism and vigor, move forward to studying Psychology, Philosophy, etc. and truly find that Filipino spirit and worldview. 🙂

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