Title

Authenticity and the Right to Philosophy: On Latin American Philosophy’s Great Debate

Publication Date

11-8-2019

Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Department

Philosophy

Publication Title

The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1945-2015

Editor

Kelly Becker and Iain D. Thomson

DOI

10.1017/9781316779651.054

First Page

679

Last Page

691

Abstract

The brutal subjugation of America’s Indigenous cultures required an equally brutal erasure of indigenous epistemologies and their corresponding cosmologies. Because the success of the colonial project depended on the spiritual conquest of native peoples, however, what was erased was immediately replaced with something else. This replacement, although similar in structure, was radically different in content, namely: Western religion (Catholicism) and philosophy (Scholasticism), the latter conceived as an advanced method of dialectical reasoning and rigorous conceptual analysis, representing civilized rationality. As a result, philosophy replaced indigenous oral metaphysical traditions with a written tradition that privileged disembodied rationality and linear thinking over other kinds of knowing that could be described as embodied, holistic, and non-linear. Philosophy is thus a modern intervention into Latin American history, a fact that makes it difficult, and some would say anachronistic, to speak of an Aztec or Nahual philosophy. This philosophy’s role in the spiritual colonization and subjugation of Indigenous peoples, moreover, makes it problematic to speak here of an authentic and autonomous Latin American philosophy.

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