Not Every Radical Philosophy is Decolonial | Contending Modernities

Santiago Slabodsky: I invite my reader, therefore, to think of the revolutionary representation of radical continental philosophy as a colonially sanctioned dissent that universalizes a provincial difference while invisibilizing the underside of modernity. Coloniality not only monopolizes the only sanctioned path to universal redemption—in what Anibal Quijano calls evolutionism—but also selects its legitimate form of dissent. This is perhaps one of the most perdurable modern strategies of coloniality. In the now famous debate of Valladolid (1550–1551), conceived by critics as one of the most influential legitimizations of early modern racism, the imperial state appointed Euro-Christian theologian-philosophers to discuss “the nature” of Natives. In this discussion, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, retrieving Aristotle, offers one of the first modern formulations of biological racism and proposes to forcefully convert Natives into subservient Christians. Bartolomé de las Casas, enthroned as the radical and later liberationist alternative, develops one of the first formulations of cultural racism, insisting on Natives’ adaptability through conversion without physical force. If for the continental philosopher there is no possibility of thinking outside Europe, for the colonially appointed philosopher of religion there is no possibility of existence outside a totalizing Christian framework. More here.

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