How Western Philosophy Became Racist

Starting with Kant, western philosophers have erased non-western thinkers from history

Open up almost any book on the history of philosophy published over the last 150 years and you’ll likely find much the same story: philosophy arose out of the blue in ancient Greece about 2600 years ago, when Thales theorised that water was the fundamental principle of nature, and was then developed by the Greeks and later the Romans. For the last 2000 years, the story goes, philosophy has been cultivated by other European thinkers, most notably those from Germany, France, and Britain, with American thinkers also contributing over the last two centuries. The clear implication is that anything worthy of the name philosophy occurred in the west, more particularly, in western Europe and America.

But it was not always this way. The first English-language history of philosophy, published in 1687 by Thomas Stanley, presented various ancient philosophies from the east, including those of the Chaldeans, Persians, and Sabeans, from which Stanley claimed Greek ph

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