Authenticity and the Right to Philosophy: On Latin American Philosophy’s Great Debate
Contribution to a Book
The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1945-2015
Kelly Becker and Iain D. Thomson
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.
Carlos Alberto Sánchez. "Authenticity and the Right to Philosophy: On Latin American Philosophy’s Great Debate" The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1945-2015 (2019): 679-691. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316779651.054