Desuperiorization of Philosophy. Introductory Remarks to the Panel: Decolonisation & Desuperiorisation. On the Dangers of Western Thought [14th Annual International Conference on Philosophy, Athens Institute for Education and Research (A

of 2
12 views
PDF
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Document Description
It seems that western thinking, most notably since the beginning of the Enlightenment, has been permeated by the sense that it is the standard bearer of thought. With a violent unprecedented strength, western philosophy asserted itself as the one
Document Share
Document Tags
Document Transcript
  1 Desuperiorization of Philosophy Introductory Remarks to the Panel: Decolonisation & Desuperiorisation. On the Dangers of Western Thought at the 14th Annual International Conference on Philosophy of the Athens Institute for Education and Research 27-30 May 2019  Athens, Greece   Björn Freter It seems that western thinking, most notably since the beginning of the Enlightenment, has been permeated by the sense that it is the standard bearer of thought. With a violent unprecedented strength, western philosophy asserted itself as the one right way to peace, prosperity and happiness for all human beings. Within the framework of philosophy, contributions beyond the so-called western traditions have been largely ignored. African philosophy for example, even though developing rapidly, seems to be ignored almost completely by western philosophy. If we look closely at many of the important thinkers of the Enlightenment, such as Kant or Voltaire, we find vile testimonies of racism or sexism, of, in a word: superiorisms . The superioristic thinking asserts itself above the “other” and makes itself decisive for the “other.”  The superiorisms of the Enlightenment resulted in the fact that a multiplicity of human beings are excluded from the project of the Enlightenment. Even if this is rarely acknowledged explicitly. The persistent claim of the Enlightenment thinkers to address the needs of all human beings seems in sharp contradiction with, for example, the exclusion of non-white people from the Enlightenment. It seems until today not clear how this could happen: Did the thinkers of the Enlightenment manage to be humanists and racists at the same time? Or did they dehumanize those excluded from the Enlightenment so that the contradiction just dissolved? It is of urgent importance to understand this, because we need to find out if we in the contemporary context have implicitly, inadvertently received and transferred this superioristic heritage. Are the values of the Enlightenment like democracy, autonomy, freedom contaminated by the superiorism of some of their architects or not? Might this sense of superiority be an explanation for the fact that western thinking remains deeply convinced of its own rightness and for the on-going superiorism we see in our divided societies?  2 We have to understand: The answers to these questions do not exist yet. We simply do not know until today in what way our contemporary ethical problems are related to an inherited superiorist entitlement that we might –  even without our knowledge, even against opinions we think we vindicate –  continue to foster. There is a lot of reason to understand our openly superiorist past. I fear, we will find that these superiorism are still prevailing, some more openly, some more silently. I would not be surprised if we indeed find that a lot of contemporary problems have grown forth from the pseudo-self-evident superiority of the white, heterosexual, male human being many of the Enlightenment thinkers tried so vigorously to defend by abusing philosophy. The Enlightenment did not only introduce a new understanding of the value of the human being, it also introduced a new level of dehumanization. Philosophy did not only argue to treat all human beings humanely, it –  implicitly and explicitly –  worked at the same time on reducing the numbers of those who were human enough to be treated humanely. This seems to have been one the most important intellectual self-deception that made so many philosophers able to be humanist and anti-humanist at the same time: to simply disregard the humanness of those mistreated. How should we not be affected by this past? D on’t we find the same degradation of exactly those who were not like those thinker’s everywhere  in the world today? This mistreatment of women, of non-gender-specific people, of non-western people, of black people and the mistreatment of so many more people. The outcome of the pervasive and unexamined conviction of superiority in western thought –  with its genesis or at least its new foundation produced in the Enlightenment, is a humanistic self-understanding which presumes its ethical rightness based on its selective rhetorical memory and, thus, is oblivious to its culpability in horrible actions, like the colonization of the African continent. Today, African thought is continuing the process of freeing itself from colonial usurpation, however Western thought has never consciously released the African thought. Western thought did not itself recognize its own injustice, and, even worse, it did not want to recognize this injustice as an injustice. We find again this strange testimonial for Western thought. It was the same thought that brought forth the idea of human rights and equality before the law and yet committed a genocide of continental proportions. How could the western thinkers fail so radically? And if they could, can we still? It seems Western thought, to this day, has not sufficiently recognized its superioristic danger as the danger that it is! When we take a look around in contemporary contexts, this danger remains real. The foreign, the other, is stigmatized or re-stigmatized. Western thought is and remains dangerous. We must finally take this seriously and critically evaluate our value as a normative authority. In this panel we want to stimulate the discussion that Western thought must understand that its central task must be its desuperiorisation . Desuperiorisation has to be the part of the process of decolonization form the West.
Similar documents
View more...
Search Related
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x