Intimacy or Integrity

Intimacy or Integrity: Philosophy and Cultural Difference

Thomas P. Kasulis
Copyright Date: 2002
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  • Book Info
    Intimacy or Integrity
    Book Description:

    How can I know something? How can I convince someone of the rightness of my position? How does reality function? What is artistic creativity? What is the role of the state? It is well known that people from various cultures give dissimilar answers to such philosophical questions. After three decades in the cross-cultural study of ideas and values, Thomas Kasulis found that culture influences not only the answers to these questions, but often how one arrives at the answers. In generalizing cultural difference, Kasulis identifies two kinds of orientation: intimacy and integrity. Both determine how we think about relations among people and among things, and each is reasonable, effective, and consistent. Yet the two are so incompatible in their basic assumptions that they cannot successfully engage each other. Cultural difference extends beyond nations. Cultural identities crystallize in relation to religion, occupation, race, gender, class. Rather than attempt to transcend cultural difference, Kasulis urges a deeper awareness of its roots by moving beyond mere cultural relativism toward a cultural bi-orientationality that will allow us to adapt ourselves to different cultural contexts as the situation demands. Wonderfully clear and unburdened by jargon, Intimacy or Integrity is accessible to readers from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. By analyzing the synergy between thought and culture, it increases our understanding of cultural difference and guides us in developing strategies for dealing with orientations different from our own.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6301-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Kasurisu-san! Kasurisu-san!” Mrs. Tani’s call of my name carried up the stairs to my quarters in the rooming house. I knew by her tone that something was up—that she was having some problem with the folks downstairs and I was being summoned to mediate. The first level of her guest house was reserved for short-term tourists visiting Kyoto, and the living arrangements there resembled a youth hostel. The roomers were usually divided between Japanese and foreigners. Though Mrs. Tani’s English was quite functional, problems sometimes arose that she referred to the resident graduate student of comparative philosophy. So I...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Cultural Orientations
    (pp. 13-26)

    One of the most basic questions we can ask is how things are related. Relationship is fundamental to philosophy insofar as philosophy concerns itself with key relations: self and world, self and other, knower and known, thing and thing, and so forth. This book explores two essentially different ways of relating. As we saw with the two situations in the Introduction, a person can construct quite different orientations in understanding the world and acting within it. As our inquiry progresses, we will witness the unfolding of two different worldviews, two different ways of understanding the self, and two different ways...

  7. CHAPTER 2 What Is Intimacy?
    (pp. 27-52)

    In this chapter we will develop our analysis of intimacy as an orientation emphasizing certain modes of relationship. Our inquiry will take us on an exploratory journey into our own experience, pointing out a cluster of phenomena and values probably familiar to all of us but not typically given much emphasis in cultures with a strong integrity orientation. For readers from such integrity-dominant cultures (as perhaps most readers of a book in English today are likely to be), this chapter may delineate another profile of themselves as human beings. It is as if Figure 5, the gestalt picture in chapter...

  8. CHAPTER 3 What Is Integrity?
    (pp. 53-70)

    Having discussed intimacy in the previous chapter, we now turn our attention to the other relational orientation: integrity. “Integrity” is a foreground word in modern Western culture that suggests a virtue both solid and stolid. Extolled in the common phrases “having honesty and integrity,” or “a person of integrity and character,” or “integrity and honor,” the word “integrity” has many nuances. Thus I need to specify its use here. In chapter 1, when considering its etymological roots, we found the term to suggest being whole, indivisible, and inviolable. What has integrity is untouched or pure. A person with integrity does...

    (pp. 71-104)

    Table 1 summarizes the differences between the orientations of intimacy and integrity as we have discussed them thus far. Building on these differences between intimacy and integrity, we will examine what follows philosophically from making one orientation dominant over the other. As explained in chapter 3, the orientation of either intimacy and integrity establishes something like an “operating system” on which more complex “programs” of thought can run—essentially philosophical programs that determine how we tend to think about the world, ourselves, and society.

    In this chapter we will focus on ontology and the building of a worldview: the domains...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Normative Dimensions of Intimacy and Integrity AESTHETICS, ETHICS, AND POLITICS
    (pp. 105-132)

    Starting with the basic orientations of intimacy and integrity, in the preceding chapter we developed two alternative directions for the course of philosophy in the fields of epistemology, argument or analysis, and metaphysics. In effect we explored how differently we might understand whatis depending on which orientation we foregrounded as most fundamental, important, and worthy of analysis. In this chapter we will continue this project by considering the normative domain of what-ought-to-be. In other words: we will take what we have learned about how intimacy and integrity might understand the descriptive givenness of the world and proceed to see how...

    (pp. 133-160)

    So far we have said little about the actual nature of reality. We have focused instead on how people tend to think about reality and persuade others of their position. We found two very different answers to a fundamental question: how are things related? Yet in analyzing this question, we have not tried to answer how things arereallyrelated. Instead, we have tried to find out how people relate things when they analyze them, discuss them, and evaluate them. We have left open the question of whether one way of thinking about relations is better than another. In fact,...

    (pp. 161-180)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 181-184)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-186)