Medium 9780253012487

Latin American Philosophy from Identity to Radical Exteriority

Views: 533
Ratings: (0)

While recognizing its origins and scope, Alejandro A. Vallega offers a new interpretation of Latin American philosophy by looking at its radical and transformative roots. Placing it in dialogue with Western philosophical traditions, Vallega examines developments in gender studies, race theory, postcolonial theory, and the legacy of cultural dependency in light of the Latin American experience. He explores Latin America’s engagement with contemporary problems in Western philosophy and describes the transformative impact of this encounter on contemporary thought.

List price: $29.99

Your Price: $23.99

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

10 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

1. The Question of a Latin American Philosophy and Its Identity: Simón Bolívar and Leopoldo Zea

ePub

Philosophy and Western culture have been synonymous at least since Hegel’s philosophy of history. Even when philosophy has been ignored, degraded, reappropriated, or put into question and even when philosophers have sought to “destroy” it, philosophy has been taken as a given inseparable from Western culture and born of it. Practically speaking, no one from the West or educated under the Western tradition, no matter how critical of it, would put into question the existence of European, French, German, or Italian philosophy. In Latin America the situation is different: The question that animates the very arising into existence and the path of Latin American thought is if there is Latin American philosophy, or if it is at all possible to speak of such a phenomenon. This is not due to a lack of culture or thought but rather to the distinct situation of the Latin American mind. Since Latin America’s inceptive insertion into European history (1492), given its inseparability from the development of European modernity (as the very name “Latin America” itself indicates), to be an American, in its broad sense, has meant to be part of many histories, lineages, memories, and various forms of knowledge. Indigenous, Andalusian, Islamic, African, Jewish, criolla, ladina, mestiza, Guarani, Inca, Maya, Araucana: Latin America has as its origins a diversifying difference that calls not for a question of Being and for a single philosophy but for the articulation of that distinct play of concrete realities that are clumsily misrepresented under one name. Latin American philosophy, then, may be said to be philosophy by virtue of remaining philosophical, that is, by virtue of remaining with the very question of the possibility and existence of a thought that may articulate the density, distinctness, and fecundity of human experiences. In this chapter, I introduce Latin American philosophy through three figures, each of whom in a critical way calls for a Latin American thought born from its distinctive and diversifying realities. Each of them recognizes the radical difference that situates Latin American thought and deepens the question of the possibility of philosophical thought that may arise from the Latin American situation and at the same time speak to others in an articulate hermeneutical dialogue. Together these thinkers introduce the call for a Latin American situated thought that must give articulation to the distinct realities of the Americas.

 

2. Existence and Dependency: Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla’s Phenomenological Analysis of Being Latin American and Augusto Salazar Bondy’s Negative Critique of Latin American Philosophy

ePub

As we have just seen, at the heart of Leopoldo Zea’s thought appears Western philosophy as a creative force that results in the domination of other peoples and cultures who have not likewise developed their reflexive rationality. Two major Latin American philosophers who engage directly with the kind of existence that results from experiencing such domination are the Venezuelan Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla and the Peruvian Augusto Salazar Bondy. The first offers a deep phenomenological analysis of the abyssal existence Simón Bolívar introduces in his “Jamaica Letter” when he articulates the difficulty of Latin American existence. Salazar Bondy takes on domination directly and shows how it is the determining factor that up to the late sixties severs Latin American philosophers from their reality. Both philosophers, in their own ways, bring forth elements that will prove fundamental for understanding the development of Latin American thought. At the same time, as we will see, both of them ultimately remain wedded to Western thought by the very way in which they pose the issue of domination. In reading these authors, as well as throughout this book, I must emphasize that I do not believe that philosophical insights and the limits of a philosopher’s thought are mutually exclusive. As I understand it, philosophy is always questioning the very delimitations of meanings, sense, reason, and humanity.

 

3. Latin American Philosophy and Liberation: Enrique Dussel’s Project of a Philosophy of Liberation

ePub

In the previous chapters we found a call for recognizing Latin American philosophy, which may be traced back to the 1940s and 1950s in the work of Leopoldo Zea, along with other Latin American philosophers such as Arturo Ardao in Uruguay and Francisco Romero in Argentina. For these philosophers the fundamental questions were those of the identity, sense, and possibilities of a Latin American philosophy. As discussed in chapter 2, Salazar Bondy responded to these questions in 1968, and Leopoldo Zea engaged with that negative critique in 1969 in Latin American Philosophy as Philosophy and No More.1 Latin American philosophy of liberation arose as a response to the issue of dependency we found so clearly presented by Salazar Bondy as well as in light of Leopoldo Zea’s call for the recognition of Latin American philosophy in its historical and cultural dimensions.2 The first gestations of the movement occur through a series of encounters between mostly Argentine philosophers in 1968 and 1969. This group of young Latin Americans sought to develop a thinking that would respond to the concerns we have been discussing, and they did so in light of the then-new developments in sociology and economy of world-system theory and dependency theory by the Argentine economist Raúl Prebisch and by the American Jewish sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein (discussed below). They met to discuss their ideas at a series of philosophical encounters in Santa Rosa de Calamuchita, in Cordoba, Argentina. The final project first took form during the first Semana Académica of the Universidad del Salvador in 1970, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.3 Although the theme at the time was “Argentine thought,” from this meeting a series of papers resulted that had great repercussion at the Primer Congreso Argentino de Filosofía in March of 1971. As a result the second Semana Académica of the Universidad del Salvador, in 1971, focused directly on “Latin American liberation.”4 Among the founders of the movement were (to name a few) Osvaldo Ardiles, Alberto Parisi, Juan Carlos Escannone, Mario Casalla, Carlos Cullen, Rodolfo Kusch, Horacio Cerutti Guldberg, H. Assmann, Arturo Andrés Roig, Augusto Salazar Bondy, and Enrique Dussel. Leopoldo Zea and Arturo Ardao would eventually contribute to one of the historical editions of the first journals in which the philosophy of liberation became publicly known.5

 

4. Delimitations . . . of Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation and Beyond

ePub

Hay que tomar una postura crítica que nos ayude a hacer una transformación con lo que tenemos.

We must take a critical position that will help us to bring forth a transformation with what we have.

—Enrique Dussel, 2009

Throughout our discussions so far one pressing issue becomes evident as the driving concern behind Latin American thought: the concern with engaging concrete, living Latin American existence. As Dussel points out, it is ultimately life that calls for thought’s liberation. In this chapter I discuss some of the main critiques of Dussel’s thought, all of which are driven by this same concern. As we will see, these critical approaches will raise the question of how to engage the concrete and diverse singularities that compose the general fields Dussel has strategically outlined. What is put in question is the way thought situates itself and the kinds of thinking that are involved in the attempt to engage Latin America’s distinct existence. In her book Cultural Identity and Social Liberation in Latin American Thought, Ofelia Schutte criticizes Dussel’s thinking for failing to engage the singularity implied in the radical exteriority of his philosophy of liberation.1 As Schutte sees it, in Dussel’s work singularity becomes a general concept and a matter of conceptual rather than engaged comprehension. Her critique follows an earlier criticism raised by Horacio Cerutti Guldberg in 1977 (the same year as the publication of Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation) in his book Filosofía de la liberación latinoamericana (Philosophy of Latin American Liberation).2 For Cerutti Guldberg, Dussel’s discourse arises in a populist tone that risks repeating the totalitarian history that accompanies the colonialism and dependency sustained in Latin America, and it does so by remaining wedded to a general and ultimately unquestioning way of thinking the question of liberation. In this chapter I begin by discussing both critiques in order to open some questions that will lead us to ask more substantially about the extent to which Dussel’s own thinking engages the radical exteriority to which he exposes philosophy in his Philosophy of Liberation in 1977. As we will see, both Cerutti Guldberg and Schutte point to a fundamental ambiguity in Dussel’s thought: On the one hand, Dussel begins from the phenomenological experience of radical exteriority before rational discourse. If one follows Dussel’s original insight in his Philosophy of Liberation, then analectical thinking should occur not only from other places (the geopolitical point) but in ways that no longer repeat Western modern rational justifications, concepts, and ways of comprehending the other, at least by putting these ways of thinking into question.3 On the other hand, however, Dussel’s thought ultimately takes the form of traditional rational arguments, seeking to speak the language of the center for the sake of gaining recognition for the excluded and the oppressed. This is a complicated issue, since it involves Dussel’s understanding of rationality in a manner broader than the modern Western tradition but requires as well that one clarify the way Dussel’s own thinking situates him with respect to the knowledge and forms of lives of the excluded. It is neither Dussel’s momentous insight nor his intention that is in question but his turn from phenomenology and its later forms in deconstruction to a logical and pragmatic approach to the question of radical exteriority. Thus, rather than questioning Dussel’s philosophical accomplishment, that is, his opening of a previously unthought space for a philosophy from below, the following discussion wants to mark the delimitation of Dussel’s thought and thereby the path toward taking his insight further.4 At the same time, this discussion opens the question of how to understand rationality and philosophical thought in ways that go beyond Westernizing instrumental rationalism. Behind this last issue is the question of the extent to which Dussel is limited in his possible engagement of the aesthetic dimension of liberation. The broader sense of rationality and of philosophy beyond its rationalist constraints, and the path toward aesthetics of liberation, are developed in diverse ways in part 3 of this book, where various distinct manners of thinking in radical exteriority are articulated.

 

5. Beyond the Domination of the “Coloniality of Power and Knowledge”: Latin America’s Living Ana-Chronic Temporality and the Dissemination of Philosophy

ePub

In the previous chapters we have seen a constant attentiveness in Latin American thinkers toward thinking in light of their concrete situation. This situated thought finds a profound opening in Enrique Dussel’s insight concerning Latin American thought as arising out of a radical exteriority beyond the possible control, determination, and manipulation of Western European and North American thought and culture. We also saw that such experience is pre-rational, inasmuch as it ultimately refers us to a sensibility found at the heart of the disposition that differentiates us as human, namely the encounter of other humans in a proximity sustained by a sense of total or radical exteriority. As we saw above, before the interpretation there is already the life that is to be interpreted, and that situates individual consciousness and rational discourse out of epiphany (rather than in terms of the hegemonic system of Being or comprehension). At the same time, we also saw that it is this sensibility that is put in danger under colonialism and the domination and dependency suffered by the peoples of the periphery. Moreover, in Dussel’s own thought we found an ambiguity marked by the manner in which he evokes the being of those in total exteriority and the radical exteriority afforded by this awareness concerning life beyond modern Western hegemonies. Along with this issue we found an aporia with respect to the very possibility of engaging the aesthetic character of liberation in its critical as well as affirmative modalities, namely the emphasis or return to a kind of rationalism (although in the name of the excluded, and in this crucial point of departure radically different from modern Western instrumental rationalism that accompanies capitalism, liberalism, imperialism, colonialism, and globalization). One may now ask how it is that the system of domination and dependency comes into being and how it is that even in Dussel’s case being in total exteriority and thinking in radical exteriority ultimately must turn to analytical instrumental discourses, thus reenacting lineages that underlie Western thought and its hegemonic logic. By engaging these questions we will move toward understanding the possibilities for thinking out of the distinctness and peculiarities of excluded peoples and lives and in terms of their aesthetic dimension. As we will see now, by focusing on the work of Peruvian philosopher Aníbal Quijano, dependency and the turning away from being proximate in total exteriority occur through the colonization of the Americas and as the result of the development in the sixteenth century of certain orderings and lineages that become systems of domination over knowledge and being. Through these orderings and lineages arises the modern Western mind and its other, the non-Western, uncivilized, irrational, and dark peoples or “races.”1 This ordering will serve as the delimitating space for understanding what knowledge is and exploring its place and limits throughout the development of the sciences and humanities and in the history of Western philosophy. Ultimately these systems of domination and the delimitations of existence that are possible within them are sustained by a kind of disposition, a sense of temporality that operates as an aesthetic sensibility. This sensibility arises from these orderings of power and knowledge; it pre-rationally frames, directs, and limits any possible self-understanding and human knowledge. I will speak of this sensibility in terms of an aesthetic horizon in the later part of this chapter and call it the coloniality of time. (In chapter 10 we will see how Frantz Fanon encounters this sensibility and its limiting force, and how it may be overcome by a decolonial aesthetics.) Finally, following the question of temporality as aesthetic experience, in the last section of the chapter we will open another sense of temporality found in Quijano’s analysis of Latin American experience. As we will see, Latin American life in its distinct temporalities opens a space for thinking beyond the coloniality of power and knowledge and in light of distinct and singular Latin American articulations of senses of being and individual, as well as communal, humanity. This opening will allow us to begin to think from the radical exteriority Dussel exposes in his philosophy of liberation.

 

6. Remaining with the Decolonial Turn: Race and the Limits of the Social-Political Historical Critique in Latin American Thought

ePub

Ontology—once it is finally admitted as leaving existence by the wayside—does not permit us to understand the being of the black man.

—Frantz Fanon

To think in the interstices of the Modern project’s crisis, such is the task of a critical ontology of the present.

—Santiago Castro-Gómez

Philosophy has always insisted upon this: thinking its other. . . . To insist upon thinking its other: its proper other, the proper of its other, an other proper? In thinking it as such, in recognizing it, one misses it. One reappropriates it for oneself, one disposes of it, one misses it, or rather one misses (the) missing (of) it, which as concerns the other, always amounts to the same.

—Jacques Derrida

In this chapter I revisit Quijano’s analysis critically, in order to underline some of the difficulties that come with his historical materialist critique of Western modernity, difficulties that I believe ultimately may undermine the very attempt to the decolonization of consciousness and thought that his analysis intends. My aim is to point toward the possibility for another way of thinking that may contribute to the decoloniality of thought and to the unfolding of philosophies today. This way of thinking takes its departure from a Latin American experience that no longer fits the attempts to establish a place for Latin America within the scope of Western modern rationalism and its self-criticism. As I conclude, Latin America marks a spacing, a difference, that is neither outside nor inside modern Western rationalism and that cannot be understood as the negativity that calls for a new rationalist theory of dialectical or historical materialist critique. This is because Latin America ultimately plays out the slipping, the undoing, of Western modern thought in concrete terms by virtue of its inoperative and interruptive play within Western modernity, history, and the Western project of human freedom under the infinite production of capital.1 This does not mean that the question of human freedom must be abandoned; on the contrary, the question remains to be thought in light of distinct and radical exteriority (in this case, Latin America’s), at the limit of its doing and undoing throughout modernity.

 

7. Yucatán: Thought Situated in Radical Exteriority as a Thinking of Concrete Fluid Singularities

ePub

Hoy lo universal es también la visión desmesurada del latinoamericano.

Today what is universal is also the unbridled vision of Latin Americans.

—Miguel Littin

The previous chapters led us to a difficult place. Latin American thought is not about Latin America but figures a yet unthought delimitation of the very system we have come to know as modernity and modern philosophy. The exposure to this situation offers an opening for thinking from beyond the instrumental rationalism of contemporary modernity, from radical exteriority. Latin America is a concrete living and articulate reality that, as the underside of modernity, displaces the Western North American and European claims to a hegemonic, self-sufficient, and autonomous power and causes a fecund opening for understanding anew philosophical thought. In this sense, Latin American thought arises not as exterior to Western modernity but out of its own distinct experience. One finds an opening toward this displacement in Dussel’s call for a geopolitical consciousness with respect to thought and along with it a need for thinking otherwise than in terms of the Western modern tradition. It is not enough to recognize the site of enunciation; the movement of thought and the way the situation is heard and enunciated are also in question. The first section of this chapter introduces a general way of situating one’s thought in relation to our previous discussion by shifting from a system-oriented thought to a thinking with and out of fluid singularities and their events. The second section, titled “Yucatàn,” refers to the situation and space opened up for philosophical thought when one sets out from the radical transformative movement figured by Latin American reality and thought.

 

8. Modernity and Rationality Rethought in Light of Latin American Radical Exteriority and Asymmetric Temporality: Hybrid Thinking in Santiago Castro-Gómez

ePub

The “outsides” are not outside. They must be produced.

—Santiago Castro-Gómez

In the previous chapter we gathered a series of conclusions and implications that led to the question of how one may engage the simultaneous ana-chronic or the asymmetric or non-simultaneous simultaneity and the disseminating movement of meanings and forms of life figured by Latin American experience.1 This question is no longer posed over and against modernity; as we saw, Latin America figures a slipping within and beyond modernity, the underside of modernity. This view is possible because of two seemingly contradictory moments. The first is the possibility of a critique of modernity that arises from a sense of total exteriority and in this way becomes a critique from radical exteriority that may put in question the modern Western project of instrumental rationalism. The second position is already implicit in this last observation; Latin American thought is never entirely outside or a total other of modernity. Here appears another major implication for the question of Latin American philosophy: Latin American thought must be a decolonial thought. It must turn against and undo rationalist instrumental thought as figured by the coloniality of power and knowledge and by the coloniality of time and its epistemic prejudice. This does not mean, however, calling for the abandonment of rationality, falling into mysticism, or suggesting a return to utopian indigenism. Latin American thought is the underside of modernity, and this means that it is rational: The question is how one understands rationality out of Latin American radical exteriority. In the following pages I discuss a major figure in contemporary Latin American thought whose work begins to respond to this crucial and difficult question: the Colombian philosopher Santiago Castro-Gómez. I will focus mainly on his major work first published in 1996, Crítica de la razón latinoamericana (The Critique of Latin American Reason), a classic of Latin American philosophy.2 As we will see Castro-Gómez’s thought marks a crucial transition in our discussion, since in his work one finds a transition from thinking in terms of identity to thinking in radical exteriority.

 

9. Thinking in Remarkable Distinctness: Decolonial Thought in Some Key Figures in Contemporary Latin American Philosophy

ePub

La actualidad pide, reclama, un pensamiento decolonial que articule genealogías desperdigadas por el planeta, y ofrezca modalidades económicas, políticas, y subjetivas “otras.”

Actuality asks for, demands, a decolonial thought that articulates genealogies disseminated throughout the planet, and that offers “other” economic, political, and subjective modalities.

—Walter Mignolo

These opening words from Walter Mignolo’s essay “Decolonial Thought: Detachment and Opening (A Manifesto)” capture the fluid and disseminating movement from which and toward which the thought of Dussel, Quijano, and Castro-Gómez have led us.1 In light of the previous chapters, we are faced with the challenge to think in other ways than those sustained by instrumental rationalism and the coloniality of power, knowledge, and time. In this chapter I first reintroduce the idea of hybrid thinking in Castro-Gómez in order to set up and gain access to the relevance and impact of three contemporary Latin American philosophers. These thinkers situate their thought at the crossing of distinct ways of thinking out of their situation in fluid and distinct ana-chronic simultaneity of discourses and lives. I begin my discussion of these thinkers with Walter Mignolo’s sense of modernity as a time-space of “decolonial difference.” I will then move to two other figures who, in their particular ways and out of their specific situations and histories, develop conceptual narratives that articulate decolonial moments in philosophy today: Nelson Maldonado-Torres and María Lugones. In each case I will limit my discussion to specific moments, well aware that each of these figures would deserve much more extensive and in-depth discussion, both with respect to their own theories and developments as well as in relation to the figures, movements, and ideas we have discussed in previous chapters. Therefore, I offer this chapter merely as a brief introduction to these few contemporary Latin American thinkers and to the distinct ways in which each inhabits the radical exteriority and ana-chronic character of Latin American experiences.

 

10. Fecund Undercurrents: On the Aesthetic Dimension of Latin American and Decolonial Thought

ePub

Throughout this book I have underlined an issue that accompanies the various discourses of liberation and decolonial thought in Latin America, namely, the issue of its aesthetic dimension. As we saw, Dussel’s philosophy of liberation is based on a pre-rational and pre-linguistic sensibility, a sense of radical exteriority, that distinguishes humans. Quijano exposes a pre-rational disposition or sensibility that sustains the coloniality of power and knowledge. Moreover, as he goes on to uncover and engage ana-chronic simultaneity in Latin American existence, Quijano turns to the writers, poets, and artists of Latin America, who articulate senses of existence beyond and otherwise than the coloniality of power, knowledge, and time. For Santiago Castro-Gómez, Latin American reason is situated in a hybrid space of creation in which not only the social sciences but art and life infiltrate, contaminate, and transform how one thinks the very dynamics of being in Latin America. For Walter Mignolo, to think in the colonial difference is to engage life in all of its registers. Moreover, in an article concerning two art installations, he writes: “What I saw in these installations; the first in 1992 and the last two in 2008, are ways in which aesthetics, most of all in art, but not only in art, contribute to decolonial processes.”1 Following Mignolo into the space of colonial difference, we found at the heart of the liberatory moment in Maldonado-Torres’s essay not a theory of liberation but the articulate cry from which all decolonial theory may arise. For her part, María Lugones concludes her thoughts on decolonial feminism by bringing us back to the mouth-to-mouth and hand-to-hand transmission of traditions, and to affective ways of encountering the world and sensibilities that resist the modern, colonialist, rational system of power from within the colonial difference. In short, at each step of our discussion we have found aesthetics as an active element. My contribution to the decolonial Latin America project is this introduction of a decolonial aesthetics central to liberation and decolonial philosophies.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000050932
Isbn
9780253012654
File size
1.31 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata