In a previous post I discussed fotoan-gasy and an idea of Øyvind Dahl's that Malagasy people see the future as being behind them and coming up to reach them--not before them as most cultures do. I expanded on the ideas in the post and am happy to say that I now have a paper about this topic in Contemporary Philosophy. Here is the link.
In the paper, I argue that Dahl's case for the idea that Malagasy see the future as coming from behind is not convincing. It's certainly an interesting idea, but it is not supported by the reasons he gives. Though that argument fails, he has some incredibly insightful things to say about Malagasy time conceptions--and other aspects of the general Malagasy worldview in his excellent book, Meanings in Madagascar. He says that there are three generic ways of thinking about time that are woven through all worldviews: linear, cyclical and event-related cocneptions of time. In Madagascar the event-related conception of time is prominent. This means that people's thinking about time is more concrete and driven largely by events. Events propel the day and not abstract markers such as '8 AM'. Dahl notes that understanding this is crucial for success communication in Madagascar and that is certainly right. I take these three conceptions of time and argue that they are all relevant to living the good life, that is, each conception should be taken up by people at different times in their lives in order to achieve key features that are necessary for living a good life. I say more about this, and the other ideas, in the paper. Please find it through the link above if you are interested! I thank Graziella Masindrazana, Hoby Rabarivelo and Jean de la Croix Malazamanana for helpful discussion!