Philosophy and Multiculturalism

In spring 1993, West Valley College assigned me (Sandy LaFave) to develop a plan for infusing multiculturalism into the philosophy curriculum. Naturally, as a philosopher, I could not approach this task without first clarifying to myself exactly what the task was. Even the most fundamental components of the job - e.g., defining "multiculturalism" or clarifying its goals - are not at all straightforward. People around the country are asking the same questions I have heard debated at West Valley over the past few years: what constitutes multicultural education? what are its goals? who is qualified to teach multicultural classes? can people of different cultural backgrounds ever hope to come to rational agreement about how to live? is a world community possible or must we settle merely for mutual tolerance and non-interference? Proponents of multiculturalism do not seem to agree among themselves about these issues.

This monograph has over 100 footnotes, which were not preserved in the conversion from MS WORD to HTML. If you would like to see the footnotes, I would be happy to email you the WORD document. (You'll get the whole text plus notes, showing which footnotes go where.)

  1. Fundamental Questions — discussion of fundamental questions of multiculturalism and philosophy. I recommend that you read this first, since arguments in subsequent sections employ terminology and make reference to arguments in this section.

  2. African Philosophy

  3. Philosophy and Women
  1. Philosophy and Asian Thought

  2. Philosophy and Islam

  3. Philosophy and Native North American Thought




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