"A philosophy of liberation must always begin by presenting the historico-ideological genesis of what it attempts to think through, giving priority to its spatial, worldly setting." (p.1)
"Modern European philosophy, even before the ego cogito but certainly from then on, situated all men and all cultures—and with them their women and children—within its own boundaries as manipulate tools, instruments. Ontology understood them as interpretable beings, as known ideas, as mediations or internal possibilities within the horizon of the comprehension of Being.
Spatially central, the ego cogito constituted the periphery and asked itself, along with Fernandez de Oviedo, “Are the Amerindians human beings ?” that is, "Are they Europeans, and therefore rational animals ?" The theoretical response was of little importance. We are still suffering from the practical response. The Amerindians were suited to forced labor ; if not irrational, then at least they were brutish, wild, underdeveloped, uncultured— because they did not have the culture of the center.
188.8.131.52 That ontology did not come from nowhere. It arose from a previous experience of domination over other persons, of cultural oppression over other worlds. Before the ego cogito there is an ego conquiro; ‘‘I conquer” is the practical foundation of ‘‘I think.”." (p.2-3)
"Philosophy, when it is really philosophy and not sophistry or ideology, does not ponder philosophy. It does not ponder philosophical texts, except as a pedagogical propaedeutic to provide itself with interpretive categories. Philosophy ponders the nonphilosophical ; the reality. But because it involves reflection on its own reality, it sets out from what already is, from its own world, its own system, its own space. The philosophy that has emerged from a periphery has always done so in response to a need to situate itself with regard to a center—in total exteriority.
184.108.40.206 Pre-Socratic thought appeared not in Greece but in Turkey and southern Italy, from a political periphery (they were dominated), from an economic periphery (they were colonies), and from a geopolitical periphery (they were threatened by the armies of the center). Medieval thought emerged from the fron- tiers of the empire; the Greek fathers were peripheral, as were the Latin fathers. Even in the Carolingian renaissance, renewal came from the peripheral Ireland. From peripheral France arose a Descartes, and Kant burst in from distant Königsberg.
Distant thinkers, those who had a perspective of the center from the periphery, those who had to define themselves in the presence of an already established image of the human person and in the presence of uncivilized fellow humans, the newcomers, the ones who hope because they are always outside, these are the ones who have a clear mind for pondering reality. They have nothing to hide. How could they hide domination if they undergo it ?" (pp.3-4)
"220.127.116.11 Critical thought that arises from the periphery— including the social periphery, the oppressed classes, the lumpen —always ends by directing itself toward the center. It is its death as critical philosophy ; it is its birth as an ontology and ideology. Thought that takes refuge in the center ends by thinking it to be the only reality. Outside its frontiers is nonbeing, nothing, barbarity, non-sense. Being is the very foundation of the system, the totality of the sense of a culture, the macho world of the man of the center." (p.4)
"I differentiate between Being (Latin, esse; German, Sein) and being(s) (Latin, ens, enlia; German, das Seiende)." (note p.4)
"18.104.22.168 For Aristotle, the great philosopher of the classical period, reared to accept slavery and pursue self-centeredness, the Greek was human. The European barbarians were not human, because they were unskilled; nor were Asians human, because they lacked strength and character; slaves were not human either ; women were halfway human and children were only potentially human. The human being par excellence is the free man of the polis of Hellas.
For Thomas Aquinas the feudal lord exercised his jus dominativum over the servant of his fiefdom, and the man did the same over the woman (Eve, even though she had sinned, could not transmit original sin, because the mother only supplies the matter, but the man gives Being to the child). For Hegel the state that bears the Spirit is the “ dominator of the world,” before which all other states are ‘’devoid of rights (rechtlos).” For this reason Europe appointed itself “ the missionary of civilization” to the world.
22.214.171.124 Ontology, the thinking that expresses Being—the Being of the reigning and central system—is the ideology of ideologies, the foundation of the ideologies of the empires, of the center. Classic philosophy of all ages is the theoretical consummation of the practical oppression of peripheries.
126.96.36.199 Thus philosophy of domination, at the center of the ideological hegemony of the dominant classes, plays an essential role in European history. Nonetheless, one could trace throughout all that history a critical thinking that is in some way a philosophy of liberation insofar as it articulates the ideological formation of dominated classes." (pp.4-5)
"188.8.131.52 Parmenides, from the periphery of Magna Graecia, proclaimed the radical beginning of philosophy as ontology: “ Being is; non-Being is not.” What is Being if not the foundation of the world, the horizon that encompasses the totality within which we live, the frontier that our armies control ? Being coincides with the world ; it is like the light (phos) that illumines an area but is not itself seen. Being is not seen; what it illuminates is seen—things (onta), tools, instruments (pragmata).
Being is that which is Greek, the light of Greek culture. Being extends as far as the frontiers of Hellenism. Over the horizon is non-Being, uncivilization, Europe and Asia. This sense of ontology is found in the political thought of Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics.
184.108.40.206 From the poor colonist who like Heraclitus experienced Being as the logos that walls the city (defending it from barbarians), to the Alexandrine or Roman cosmopolitan who confused the city with the cosmos, the Greco-Roman city was divinized and identified with nature itself. Thus did ontology end up affirming that Being, the divine, the political, and the eternal are ‘ ‘one and the same thing.’ ’ Power, domination, and the center are identical, above the colonies with other cultures, above slaves of other skin colors. The center is ; the periphery is not. Where Being reigns, there reign and control the armies of Caesar, the emperor. Being is; beings are what are seen and controlled.
220.127.116.11 Classic Greco-Roman philosophies, with some exceptions, in fact articulated the interests of the dominant pro-slavery classes and justified their domination from the horizon of Being itself. It is easy to understand Aristotle’s “ The slave is a slave by nature” or the inclination of Stoics and Epicureans to extend deliverance to all the citizens of the empire, so as to ensure a “ good conscience” in all its members, on the one hand, and to sanctify the empire, finite manifestation of the gods of cosmopolitanism, on the other."(pp.5-6)
"18.104.22.168 The peripheral humans of this transition were the poor Bedouin of the Arabian desert, not the Indo-Europeans who, crossing the Eurasian steppes with their horses, one day invaded Greece, Rome, and India. The Bedouin and shepherds of the desert did not experience Being as light but as proximity, faceto-face encounter with a brother or sister of the same ethnos or a stranger to whom hospitality was offered. One day the Bedouin comprised the kingdoms of Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia ; they will depart in exile to Egypt. They will be liberated with Moses. They will be the origin of the vision of the world that Maimonides will be able to define centuries later as “ the philosophy of creation,” a theoretical metaphysics that justifies the practicopolitical revolution of slaves and the oppressed (3.4.4).
22.214.171.124 From the periphery, the Being that strikes the ear of the attentive listener as freedom will also triumph in its classic epochs: in Constantinople after the fourth century, in Rome after the sixth century, in Baghdad after the ninth century, in Cördoba after the tenth century, in Paris after the thirteenth century. The Semitic world (Christian, Muslim, and Jewish) will also have its. ontology, its expressed fundamental ideology. After having begun by stating “ Blessed are the poor,’’ and after having understood that Abel never built his city as Augustine prescribed in the City o f God, they ended by again identifying Being with the ruling system, the earthly city (of the medievals or of the caliphs) with the city of God. Creation—which permitted the understanding of things, profits, systems, and kingdoms as contingent and possible (not necessary) and therefore changeable (126.96.36.199)—came to justify the medieval Mediterranean system: God wanted things this way. The ideologizing of the subversive and political metaphysics of creation was the beginning of its end, of its fossilization, of the modern centro-European revolution.
188.8.131.52 In the same way methodical Semitic-Christian thought, first articulated by the nomadic and austere tribes of the desert, ended by justifying the dominating class, the world of medieval feudalism. Critics of the mode of feudal production and the structure of prescribed tribute were not lacking, but they frequently ended up in the hands of the Holy Office, the Inquisition" (pp.6-7)
"184.108.40.206 From the “ I conquer’ applied to the Aztec and Inca world and all America, from the “ I enslave” applied to Africans sold for the gold and silver acquired at the cost of the death of Amerindians working in the depths of the earth, from the ‘‘I vanquish” of the wars of India and China to the shameful ‘‘opium war” —from this ‘‘I” appears the Cartesian ego cogito.
This ego will be the unique substance, divine in Spinoza. In Hegel the ich denke of Kant will recover perfect divinity in the absolutes Wissen, absolute knowledge, which is the very act of totality as such: God on earth. If faith, the perfect cult of absolute religion in Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion, is the certitude that the representation of the understanding is the absolute Idea, such certitude is that which world dominators have: they are the manifestation on earth of the divinity. The empires of the center—England and France as colonial powers, Nazi Germany, and later the United States with its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—thus once more possess an ontology that justifies them, a subtle ideology that gives them a ‘ ‘good conscience. ’ ’
What is Nietzsche if not an apology for the human conqueror and warrior ? What are phenomenology and existentialism if not the description of an ‘‘I” or a Dasein from which opens a world, always one’s own ? What are all the critical schools, or even those that launch themselves in search of a utopia, but the affirmation of the center as the future possibility of ‘‘the same” ? What is structuralism but the affirmation of totality—though not leading to a politico-economic resolution in real liberation ?
220.127.116.11 ‘‘God is dead” —that is to say, Europe is dead because it deified itself. At least the fetish has died for us and with it the United States as its quantitative extension. The death of the fetish is important, for just as ‘‘all criticism begins with the critique of (fetishist) religion,” so liberation is possible only when one has the courage to be atheistic vis-a-vis an empire of the center, thus incurring the risk of suffering from its power, its economic boycotts, its armies, and its agents who are experts at corruption, violence, and assassination.
18.104.22.168 Homo homini lupus is the real—that is, political— definition of the ego cogilo and of modern and contemporary European philosophy. It is the ontological expression of the ideology of the bourgeois class, triumphant in the British revolution, which will dominate the capitalist world. Philosophy again becomes the center of the ideological hegemony of the dominating class." (pp.8-9)
(pp9-15: https://www.contretemps.eu/liberation-peripherie-philosophie-enrique-dussel/ ).
[Chap.2 "From phenomenology to liberation]
"Phenomenology, as its name implies, concerns itself with what appears and how it appears from the horizon of the world, the system, Being. Epiphany, on the other hand, is the revelation of the oppressed, the poor—never a mere appearance or a mere phenomenon, but always maintaining a metaphysical exteriority. Those who reveal themselves transcend the system and continually question the given. Epiphany is the beginning of real liberation." (p.16)
-Enrique Dussel, Philosophy of liberation, Wipf and Stock (1985 pour la première édition états-unienne, 1977 pour la première édition mexicaine), 215 pages.