Thoughts on the Idea of a World Humanities


  • Acknowledgments: The original manuscript of this article was presented as a keynote speech at the symposium “Is There, Can There Be, such an Activity as World Humanities?” Simon Fraser University, January 27–28, 2012.

LESLIE ARMOUR, Professor, Dominican College of Philosophy and Theology. Specialties: logical and historical analysis of philosophical systems. E-mail:


The humanities create communities of meaning and the means to unify knowledge. Poets and novelists offer new insights into our shared mind. History provides our continuity. Philosophy struggles to unite our scientific knowledge with our understanding of values. Each discipline creates its own perspective and they often turn inward, creating new divisions. Yet a global view of the humanities is our hope of finding the means to live together in peace. But the argument in this article suggests that a philosophical understanding of the basic concepts with which we order our claims about the world can provide a successful response.