THE LIMITS OF APPLICABILITY OF WESTERN CONCEPTS, VALUES AND METHODS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES TO THE CONCRETE REALITIES OF ASIAN SOCIETIES*
AUGUSTO CESAR ESPIRITU – COLLEGE OF LAW – UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
PINATUNAYAN NG MAY AKDA ANG KAHALAGAHAN NG PAGBIGAY-PANSIN SA KULTURA SA PAMAMAGITAN NG PAGBANGGIT NG MGA HALIMBAWA SA LARANGAN NG PULITIKA, EKONOMIYA AT SOSYOLOHIYA, NA KUNG SAAN NATUKLASAN NG MGA MANANALIKSIK NA ANG NATUTULUNGAN NILANG MGA METODO AT KONSEPTONG MAY ORYENTASYONG KANLURANIN AY HINDI MAAARING GAMITIN. MALAKI ANG PAGKAKAIBA NG MGA KANLURANING KONSEPTO SA MGA KONSEPTONG ASYANO. DAHIL DITO, KINAKAILANGANG KILALANIN MUNA ANG TAGABATID AT ALAMIN ANG PAPEL NA GINAGAMPANAN NG ISANG BEHIKULO NG PAGBABAGO. NGUNIT UPANG MAISAKATUPARAN ANG TEORYANG ANGKOP SA LIPUNAN, KINAKAILANGANG BAGUHIN MUNA NG MGA MANANALIKSIK ANG KANILANG PINANGHAHAWAKANG KANLURANING ORYENTASYON, PRINSIPYO AT PILOSOPIYA. *Inilathala sa The Relevance of Social Sciences in Contemporary Asia. Tokyo: World Student Christian Federation, 1968, 35-44.
The traditional social sciences which have been developed as part of the totality of learning in the West have been brought over to Asia. It is now becoming increasingly evident that the validity of such social sciences, whether in the realm of research theory or of action policy, can no longer be accepted uncritically. An appreciation of what is valid or invalid, applicable or inapplicable, is therefore imperative. Such analysis is necessary not only as an academic venture; social change is basic to the Asian aspiration for modernization and the need is urgent for such change to be directed towards the achievement of what may well be Asian as distinguished from non-Asian goals.
The problem is clear and present. The Asian academic world, until now, has been staffed with many scholars whose training has been, for the most part, in Western universities and institutions. At the same time, the political and intellectual leadership in the larger life of its society is held to a significant degree of Western-trained leaders. The orientation of many of these leaders has been conditioned by the predominantly Western culture. Trained to think in Western terms through the medium of Western languages, some are experiencing a reawakening to the reality of their situation. Asian intellectuals are undergoing an agonizing period of soul-searching. Their system of values, developed through years of training in, and broad exposure to, Western philosophies, is being shattered by a realization that these values may not be suitable to the Asian environment. Recently, Professor Ruben Santos-Cuyugan of the University of the Philippines expressed misgivings about the movement towards the unification of all knowledge, including the assumption of “universal categories of culture” and the universality of value judgment. This movement, according to him, makes the social scientist evade one of his fundamental responsibilities which is “to examine the ways by which his science and thought, indeed his very perceptions, are rooted in the matrix of his own culture” (Santos-Cuyugan 1967).
In the meantime, in the realm of politics, the postwar leaders of Asia have discovered that independence has not automatically ushered in the Utopia. Thus, they are not seeking the nature and structure of government that will best meet their needs, the political philosophies their peoples should embrace or adopt, and the policies that will bring about the good society by their indigenous standards and values.
A starting point is the fact that with a few exceptions, the developing countries of Asia profess belief in freedom and human rights, the rule of law and constitutional government. These concepts and maxims are manifested in their constitutions. However, in spite of guarantees enshrined in their constitutions, these countries find it difficult to achieve real constitutional democracy. For the...
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