Matters of Interest: Difference and Responsibility in Goswami’s Subjects That Matter

philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 13 (1):84-98 (2023)
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Abstract

Namita Goswami’s book, Subjects That Matter: Philosophy, Feminism, and Postcolonial Theory, challenges its reader not only to attend to how one philosophizes about difference but also how one might philosophize differently. It is concerned with how we, now, practice philosophy as well as what we philosophize about. In this response, I raise a series of questions meant to challenge and expand Goswami’s work from the standpoint of someone rooted in the dominant framework of the Anglo-European academic discourse on difference. In raising these questions, I take myself to be attempting the very twisting free of conventional philosophizing that Subjects That Matter invites. Some of the most powerful discussions in Goswami’s book concern the issues of metaphysics, dialectics, and history. The questions raised here predominantly concern whether specifically “dialectical” non-identity is faithful to Goswami’s conception of a non-antagonistic understanding of difference. Relatedly, does the past-facing metaphysical concept of the Whole insinuate itself in philosophy in such a way as to preclude thinking in ways that go against the grain of the Eurocentric tradition? From this concern for the conceptual commitments of dialectics and its associated metaphysics arises the further concern of whether even a negative dialectics allows for sufficiently differential genealogies.

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Russell Ford
Elmhurst University

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