The advent of black thinkers and the limits of continental philosophy

Book Section

In this chapter, Mignolo interrogates Eurocentrism as an epistemic and not a geographic issue. The chapter contends that local knowledge generated in Europe from the Renaissance onward piggybacked on economic, political, and military expansion to become global. Renaissance epistemology, basic theological, was keen to push the concept of “universal” inherited from the European Middle Age. Hence, the concept of universal, curiously enough, became global and the global was confused with universal. Theological philosophy and, since the Enlightenment, secular philosophy were the army and the soldiers of the European epistemic and ontological march on the rest of the world. Without going into the responses that Europe is getting nowadays with migrants, refugees, and angry people called terrorists, Mignolo examines in this chapter the epistemic responses from and by people whose histories of knowing, being, living, and doing were not that of the local history of European forms of knowing, being, living, and doing. Such responses are always trapped in the categories that Eurocentrism imposed through Western languages and its fountains, Greek and Latin. Mignolo argues that there is no fundamental justification to trap thinking in the cage of Western philosophy. This is because human beings think, and have done so for millions if not billions of years, and Greek philosophers only conceived their own thinking as philosophy. The chapter then explores means by which philosophy can be decolonized in order to liberate thinking.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mignolo, WD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2017

Book Title

  • The Palgrave Handbook of African Philosophy

Start / End Page

  • 287 - 301

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781137592903

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1057/978-1-137-59291-0_19

Citation Source

  • Scopus