Mignolo on Al-J.

February 21, 2013

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“Now, if we want to use the term “philosophy” to identify thinkers whether European and non-European, I would say that while Zizek may be the most important European philosopher today, his work is less relevant for many people than the work of Jamaican philosopher Lewis Ricardo Gordon; Iranian philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr; Chinese philosopher Wang Hui; Egyptian Nawal El Saadawi; and Latin American philosopher Enrique Dussel.
[…]
Relevance is not universal, but depends on the universe of meaning and the belief system under which relevance is determined. We have here a pluriversal world of thinkers and philosophers in the process of de-westernising and decolonising the imperial legacies of Western philosophy
[…]
The question of philosophy in the non-European world has been and is a vexing one. African and Latin American thinkers trained in philosophy debated, around the 1970s, this crucial question: “Is there an African/Latin American philosophy?” This question would have been unthinkable in Germany during the same years.

Robert Bernasconi, elaborating on African-American philosopher Lucius T Outlaw, summarised the dilemma as follows:

Western philosophy traps African philosophy in a double bind: either African philosophy is so similar to Western philosophy that it makes no distinctive contribution and effectively disappears; or it is so different that its credentials to be genuine philosophy will always be in doubt. (Bernasconi 1998, 188; Postcolonial African Philosophy: A Critical Reader).
[…]
There cannot be only one solution simply because there are many ways of being, which means of thinking and doing. Communism is an option and not an abstract universal.
[…]
In the non-European World, communism is part of the problem rather than the solution. Which doesn’t mean that if you are not communist, in the non-European world, you are capitalist.” (Mignolo).

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