Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Carribean Philosophy

Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Carribean Philosophy

Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Carribean Philosophy

Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Carribean Philosophy


Paget introduces the general reader to Afro-Caribbean philosophy in this ground-breaking work. Since Afro-Caribbean thought is inherently hybrid in nature, he traces the roots of this discourse in traditional African thought and in the Christian and Enlightenment traditions of Western Europe.


One of the peculiar features of Caribbean intellectual life is the near absence of an explicitly cultivated philosophical tradition. Yet the region has produced authors such as C. L. R. James, Frantz Fanon, and Wilson Harris, whose works are brimming with original philosophical insights and arguments. Caliban’s Reason is an attempt to resolve this apparent paradox. Consequently, it is a work that introduces Caribbean philosophy to the academic community, describes some of its distinctive features, and examines some of its major problems, in particular, problems of internal unity, creolization, and praxis.

By problems of internal unity, I am referring to the cleavages and lack of dialogue that persist between many of its major schools, such as the gaps between historicists and poeticists, or between historicists and traditional African philosophy. Creolization raises explicitly the issue of power relations in determining the ways in which African, Indian, and European philosophies come together to constitute a regional philosophy. Lastly, in many of the formulations of Caribbean philosophy, relations to society have been mediated by the transformative praxis of a number of postcolonial projects. Many of these projects have been thrown into crisis by changes in the global political economy and, hence, are in need of reformulation. These are some of the key issues around which my examination of Caribbean philosophy will be organized.

This comparatively late introduction raises the question: Where has Caribbean philosophy been all this time? This is a question many have been asking. None more persistently than the Antiguan journalist and activist Tim Hector. In his well-known “Fan the Flame” column in Outlet, Hector has often asked, “Where is our philosophy?” The persistence of his asking has been a major motivating force for the writing of this book. The short answer to this pointed question is that Caribbean philosophy has been carefully embedded in the practices of nonphilosophical discourses almost to the point of concealment.

Caliban’s Reason is the long answer to this question. Consequently, it describes in detail an implicit style of philosophizing that has been embedded

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