Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Agenda for a South-South Philosophical Dialogue

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Agenda for a South-South Philosophical Dialogue

Article excerpt

The intercultural dialogue that has been developing since the beginning of the 21st century as a cultural and political priority should have an inter-philosophical global dialogue as its epistemological and ontological foundation. Nonetheless, given the disproportionate concentration of cultural, political, economic, and military power in the Global North and given the exercise of power characterized by inequalities of race and gender, among other factors, against the Global South--i.e., the former colonial world whose configurations emerged in the 16th century and have intensified since the Industrial Revolution in Latin America, Bantu Africa, the Arab and Islamic world, Southeast Asia and India, including China which, although it was not directly colonized, has borne the effects of Western power since the 19th century--it is necessary that this process begin with an inter-philosophical dialogue among the world's postcolonial communities.

This is also necessary because modern Western philosophy decreed the inexistence as philosophy, strictly speaking, of all of the philosophical exercises undertaken in those countries which have borne the effects of the colonialism imposed by the European metropolitan powers. It is thus imperative that the philosophers of the South meet in recognition of their existence as such--grounded in the traditions that they have cultivated in the regional philosophies from which they have emerged--in order to clarify our positions, develop working hypotheses, and then, upon this basis, initiate a fertile North-South inter-philosophical dialogue with a well-defined agenda that has been previously developed by the philosophies based in the so-called "underdeveloped" countries or nations of the global periphery who have the material basis to affirm that they have been exploited by a colonialist capitalism that today has become globalized and is in crisis.

My approach to these issues is set forth here in the form of simple theses that might contribute towards this dialogue, with the intention that they be tested in forthcoming debates as bases for possible consensus regarding central themes which must be ranked in the order of their importance with a view towards more focused, specific dialogues at later stages of this process. Those themes could then be explored in greater detail as part of agreed frameworks that could be taught in high schools, universities, and other institutes of learning, and help spark new working hypotheses and innovative research projects, derived from the new philosophical paradigm presented here.


In the first instance, I believe that a necessary precondition for a fertile overall dialogue in the future is the meeting of a group of critical philosophers from the Global South (not those who simply teach or comment on the philosophers of the North) in order to undertake deep discussions, with sufficient time, to determine which are the problems, themes, and hypotheses for reflection that they should focus on in the future. These meetings would provide the participants the opportunity to explore each of the most fundamental themes or hypotheses in order to assess their deeper significance within a community of dialogue, and arrive at the levels of consensus necessary in order to define minimum ranges of agreement, that in turn could lay the basis for a truly planetary philosophy (not just for the South, but for the Global North as well).

Such a consensus (and its respective priorities) could only be arrived at upon the basis of a determination of the most relevant themes. This in turn presupposes a degree of critical philosophical reflection necessary in order to initiate such a dialogue from a new point of departure. It would not be necessary to discuss a specific theme in this first encounter, but instead to undertake a reflection regarding the significance and implications of the current situation of contemporary postcolonial philosophy, the causes of its prostration, as well as of its supposed inexistence, lack of fertility, and invisibility in the eyes of our fellow philosophers in the so- called "periphery. …

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