Robert Rosen’s relational biology and biosemiotics share the claim that life cannot be explained by the laws that apply to the inanimate world alone. In this paper, an integrated account of Rosen’s relational biology and Peirce’s semiosis is proposed. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the construction of a unified framework for the definition and study of life. The relational concepts of component and mapping, and the semiotic concepts of sign and triadic relation are discussed and compared, and a (...) representation of semiotic relations with mappings is proposed. The role of the final cause in two theories that account for what differentiates living beings, natural selection and relational biology, is analyzed. Then the presence of the final cause in Peirce’s semiosis is discussed and, with it, the similarities and differences between the theories of Rosen and Peirce are deepened. Then, a definition of a semiotic relation in an organism is proposed, and Short’s definition of interpretation is applied. Finally, a method to identify and analyze semiotic actions in an organism is proposed. (shrink)
In the opening lines of ‘Black Orpheus’, written as a preface to an anthology of negritude poetry, Sartre challenges white readers ‘to feel, as I do, the shock of being seen’. Reading this poetry, he thinks, should undermine white people’s presumption of the objectivity of their perspective. Accordingly, the essay itself contradicts two prominent aspects of the philosophy he had so far developed: the idea that poetry could not be politically engaged; and the theory of radical freedom. These changes are (...) ultimately rooted in his realisation, upon reading this poetry, that his previous understanding of prose is mistaken. This has the consequence that his philosophical method, which derives ontological conclusions from prose descriptions of experience, has two important limitations: its premises cannot be drawn solely from his own experience; and French prose might be insufficient for formulating all relevant premises. He therefore revises his method to deploy this poetry as phenomenological grounds for ontological conclusions, which transforms his ontology of human existence to include cultural inheritance as a primary feature. We will see how this reading of negritude poetry exemplifies both the epistemic challenge involved in what he calls ‘the look’ and the use of listening in response to it. (shrink)
Resumo: Interessa ao pesquisador como o corpo poético negro e travesti da artista Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro se contrapõe à História e ao Sistema da Arte hegemônicos, ao mesmo tempo que contribui para uma revisão de suas práticas discursivas de inclusão e exclusão, por meio de sua poiesis, sua fabulação poética, na qual a um só tempo se visita e se reinventa uma ancestralidade afroindígena, atinente às origens e religiosidade da artista. A aparição e a visão do corpo preto e dissidente (...) de Castiel apontam para uma desestabilização do que Hubert Damisch nomeará “o teatro da representação”. Teoricamente, este texto recorre a um campo caracterizado pela interdisciplinaridade, no intuito de responder à complexidade de seu objeto de eleição: teorias decoloniais, estudos de gênero, teoria queer, filosofia, teoria lacaniana, teoria e história da arte, o que o aproximaria daquilo que a teórica holandesa Mieke Bal denomina Análise Cultural.: Our interest herein resides in how the poetical, black and travesti body of the artist Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro opposes and confronts the hegemonic Art History and its System, while contributing to a revision of its discursive practices of inclusion and exclusion through its poiesis, its poetical fabrication in which the artist’s afro-ameridian ancestry is both visited and reinvented. The apparition and vision of Castiel’s black, dissident body suggests, in our reading, a destabilization of what Hubert Damisch calls “the theatre of representation”. Theoretically, this text resorts to a field characterized by interdisciplinarity with a view to attempting to contemplate the complexity of its objet: gender studies, queer theory, philosophy, Lacanian theory, art history and theory, which would qualify it as an exercise in Cultural Analysis, as Dutch theorist Mieke Bal would have it. (shrink)
I’m grateful for the opportunity to give the 2019 AJTP Lecture and for the leeway since then allowed me in developing ideas first presented there; it is indulgent of this journal to publish the overlong result in two parts, of which this is the first.1 The philosophical tradition epitomized by William James and Charles S. Peirce figured importantly in my early philosophical formation, but I am not a scholar of their work; nevertheless, Mike Hogue—at the time the editor of AJTP (...) and once a doctoral student at the University of Chicago Divinity School at the same time as me—approached me about the AJTP Lecture after learning that I had taught a class in the University of Chicago Divinity School called “American... (shrink)
The essay explicates Aimé Césaire’s contribution to the discipline of African philosophy, which ironically, is unknown to many scholars within African philosophy, especially in Anglophone Africa. In his Return to my Native Land, Césaire introduced two new concepts: “négritude” and “return”. These would later turn out to be crucial to the discourse on African identity and African philosophy. In his Discourse on Colonialism, Césaire raised two very closely related objections against Placide Tempels’ Bantu Philosophy. His first dissatisfaction was that Tempels (...) merely followed Lévy-Bruhl and his adherents by proposing another point of view in support of the misguided theory of the prelogical. Secondly, in so doing, his aim was nothing more than to make a presentation of an argument insupport of European imperialism and colonialism. His Discourse on Colonialism, therefore, set the ground for later criticisms that were levelled against ethnophilosophy as an approach to African philosophy. Keywords: Négritude, Return, Thingification, Ethnophilosophy, Philosophic sagacity. (shrink)
Quel message est apporté par le courant littéraire de la négritude, et comment procède-t-il pour le transmettre? C'est par le biais d'une écriture introspective que la diaspora noire a conquis sa dignité et dépassé le stade victimaire, par-delà le seul cadre de la communauté francophone. A travers l'histoire de la traite et de la colonisation, notre lecture procédera en trois phases: une phase locutoire, consacrée à un rappel chronologique du contexte noir dans l'Histoire; une phase illocutoire, où seront exposées les (...) différentes réactions de l'intelligentsia noire face à la ségrégation et au passif colonial; une phase perlocutoire, qui conclura l'étude en observant l'impact de la négritude sur la réalité sociale du genre noir. Au-delà du courant historique francophone, l'idée de négritude incarne le problème des constructions d'identité et illustre parfaitement la difficulté de la condition humaine: être ce que nous voulons de ce que les autres veulent faire de nous. (shrink)
_Return to the Kingdom of Childhood: Re-envisioning the Legacy and Philosophical Relevance of Negritude_ examines the philosophy of Negritude through an innovative analysis of Léopold Sédar Senghor’s oeuvre. In the first book-length study of Senghorian philosophy, Cheikh Thiam argues that Senghor’s work expresses an Afri-centered conception of the human while simultaneously offering a critique of the Western universalization of “man.” Senghor’s corrective, descriptive, and prescriptive theory of humanness is developed through a conception of race as a cultural manifestation of being. (...) Thiam contends that Senghor’s conception of race entails an innovative Afri-centered epistemology and ontology. For Senghor, races are the effects of particular groups’ relations to the world. The so-called “Negroes,” for example, are determined by their epistemology based on their fluid understanding of the ontological manifestations of being. The examination of this ontology and its ensuing epistemology, which is constitutive of the foundation of Senghor’s entire oeuvre, indicates that Negritude is a postcolonial philosophy that stands on its own. The hermeneutics of Senghor’s race theory show that the Senegalese thinker’s pioneering postcolonial philosophy remains relevant in the postcolonial era. In fact, it questions and expands the works of major contemporary African-descended scholars such as Paul Gilroy, Edouard Glissant, and Molefi Asante. Thiam’s approach is thoroughly interdisciplinary, combining perspectives from philosophy, literary analysis, anthropology, and postcolonial, African, and cultural studies. (shrink)
This essay offers a novel approach for understanding the poetry of negritude and its role in the struggle for black liberation by appealing to Giambattista Vico’s insights on the historical, cultural, and myth-making function of poetry and of the mythopoetic imagination. The essay begins with a discussion of Vico’s aesthetic historicism and of his ideas regarding the role of imagination, poetry, and myth-making and then brings these ideas to bear on the discussion of the function of negritude poetry, focusing primarily (...) on the writings of Aimé Césaire and on Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay, Black Orpheus. (shrink)
Philosophy in an African Place shifts the central question of African philosophy from "Is there an African philosophy?" to "What is it to do philosophy in this place?" This book both opens up new questions within the field and also establishes "philosophy-in-place", a mode of philosophy which begins from the places in which concepts have currency and shows how a truly creative philosophy can emerge from focusing on questioning, listening, and attention to difference.
While highlighting the inherent tension between the quest for universalization and the unavoidable particularity in philosophical hermeneutics, this essay argues against what it regards as the uncritical characterization of Leopold Sedar Senghor’s concept of “negritude” in terms of ethnophilosophy, a derogatoryterm employed in contemporary African philosophy to describe philosophy that is communal, and which can be sieved out from such genres as proverbs, wise sayings, and myths. It reviews the background and the contents of negritude, including its metaphysics and its (...) epistemology of emotion. It calls attention to Senghor’s ideas about communalism and his universalism seen in his theory of the civilization of the universal, and concludes that Senghor’s negritude is the outcome of a particular and personal interpretation of his experience of the African condition, and is therefore eminently hermeneutical. (shrink)
Notwithstanding its many successes, African-centred pedagogy (ACP) has been vulnerable to criticism, implicit and explicit, from several quarters. For example, ACP can be justly criticized for not recognizing the general diversity of blacks in America, a “nation” of more than 30 million spread across a tremendous variety of lifeways, locations, and historical circumstances. It also has been accused of abandoning the democratic purposes of the civil rights movement and repudiating its real successes. In addition to the ambiguities of Black identity, (...) many difficulties also attend the conceptualization and implementation of ACP. To examine the various challenges that confront ACP, our essay will be framed by the following three questions: (1) Does the historical context in which many black children live justify the existence of African-centered schools? (2) Does ACP prepare black children to participate in a democratic society? (3) Does the construction of an essentialist racial identity in ACP compromise its mission and success? In response to the first question, we will briefly review the historical conditions and circumstances of American schooling for blacks before considering both the motivations for establishing African-centered schools and the aims of ACP. Efforts to forge a parallel society and to foster Black consciousness and pride, including the establishment of separatist schools, are not new. We will limit our historical overview to the years following the 1954 Brown decision and leave to others the examination of historically unique examples of separate Black schooling that predate the rise of African-centered schools in their present incarnation. We conclude that both historical and contemporary realities do in fact justify some forms of voluntary separated schooling such as African-centered schools. (shrink)
In the first part of this essay, in order to grasp the complex and ambivalent relation of Fanon with negritude, I will recover the context from which emerged the ideology of negritude by focusing on the views of Léopold Senghor and the ways in which these views determined Sartre's interpretation of the movement. I will also examine Sartre's Black Orpheus and the influence it had on Fanon, especially on his Black Skin, White Masks. In the second part, I will adumbrate (...) Fanon's critique of the advocates of negritude, whom he refers to as 'men of culture', who fell back on archaic cultural practices far removed from the political realities of their colonized societies. In the third section, I will turn to Memmi's critique of Fanon with a view to establishing two points: first, Memmi misreads Fanon's rejection of negritude as a failure on the part of Fanon to 'return to self'; second, far from being an oppositional post-modern figure whose work is rife with contradiction, I will argue that the political project of Fanon is consistently Sartrean, despite his disagreement with Sartre on some issues. (shrink)
African Philosophy is a collection of previously unpublished essays that address epistemological and metaphysical concerns that have emerged from the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. The primary focus of the book is on traditional African conceptions of mind, person, personal identity, truth, knowledge, understanding, objectivity, and reality. The collection also discusses traditional African conceptions of causation, destiny, and free will.
This volume of newly commissioned essays provides comprehensive coverage of African philosophy, ranging across disciplines and throughout the ages. _ Offers a distinctive historical treatment of African philosophy. Covers all the main branches of philosophy as addressed in the African tradition. Includes accounts of pre-colonial African philosophy and contemporary political thought. _.