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The Americas seek not Enlightenment but Liberation: Anti-Racism as the Foundations for an “American” Liberatory Tradition

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This essay offers an account of the philosophical significance of liberation and prescribes the special place the idea of liberation ought to hold in the context of inter-American philosophical dialogue. I offer an expansive depiction of “liberation,” one that draws not only from decolonial theorists and philosophers in Latin America and the Caribbean, but also North American philosophers and social theorists challenging racism, sexism and other forms of oppression, domination, injustice and/or marginalization. Rather than trying to achieve "enlightenment," philosophers of the Americas are better served by striving for liberation, a goal that highlights the process-oriented, creative and dynamic nature of human life and thought. The challenge for philosophers of the Americas therefore is to think through their colonial dependencies (as “Americans”) using their colonial inheritance (philosophy), an act done in good faith if one is willing to rethink that nature and purpose of philosophical inquiry.


Grant Silva    
Marquette University
United States


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