Vol. 26, No. 1/2 (2022)

25TH ANNIVERSARY DOUBLE ISSUE: Symposium Editors Emeriti

ALAIN BEAULIEU, La Réception nord-américaine de Folie et déraison de Foucault


This article aims at understanding the North-American reception of Foucault’s Folie et déraison. After showing how American conceptions of social control facilitated the integration of Foucauldian thinking in North-American academia, I examine the ways by which the advocates of anti-psychiatry and the historians of psychiatry read Folie et déraison, which became emblematic for French Theory. I then present various Anglo-American critiques of Folie et déraison and defend the persistence of a “Foucauldian spirit” against the scientifization of psychiatry. All this allows for an assessment of the legacy of Folie et déraison in the North American debates.

DONALD IPPERCIEL, Contribution to a Hermeneutical Pedagogy


This article argues that philosophical hermeneutics, despite its ontological character, can inform higher education teaching in a meaningful way. After discussing theoretical aspects of philosophical hermeneutics, focus will turn to pre-understandings and historically effected consciousness. These concepts will lead to hermeneutics’s transformative nature, with the notion of openness serving as a common thread. The review of three further concepts of philosophical hermeneutics—hermeneutical experience, authentic dialogue, and Bildung—will provide insight into openness as a vanishing point without being a culmination. Parallels to Mezirow’s method of transformative learning will be drawn and the concept of Bildung, central to philosophical hermeneutics, will be considered through the Humboldtian lens to better extract its practical implications, which lay beyond Gadamer’s theoretical focus. Finally, the last section will cement the applicative intent of the article by presenting concrete teaching practices that flow from philosophical hermeneutics.

ANTONIO CALCAGNO, Gerda Walther and the Possibility of Telepathy as an Act of Personal Social Mind


The phenomenologist Gerda Walther posits the possibility of a new social act, which she terms telepathy. It is marked by an intimate interpersonal union in which ego and alter ego become capable of sharing in the identical lived experience, though distant from one another. Here, there is no fusion or collective identification; rather, individuals, though they live the experience and mind of the other, never lose or transcend their own individuation. Unlike the act of empathy, there is no analogical transfer. This article defends the possibility of a restricted sense telepathy. The author argues that four conditions must be fulfilled for telepathy to occur: recognition of a social drive; a partially willed act of mind that results in the assumption of a certain stance, but it also comes upon us as an experience; constitution of subjects as persons marked by a “fundamental essence”; and I-splitting.



LÉNA SILBERZAHN, Sommes-nous « insensibles » au ravage en cours? De « l’écologie sensible » à la lutte contre les dispositifs de désensibilisation


A growing body of work approaches the current environmental devastation from the perspective of a “crisis of sensitivity”: our inability to care for the living around us is said to be a failure of perception and feeling. The article explores several versions of the narrative of modern insensitivity through a study of Günther Anders and Jane Bennett, highlighting the limitations of such approaches. I suggest the notion of a desensitization apparatus to specify and politicize the diagnosis of a “crisis of sensitivity.”

BENJAMIN BREWER, Paraontology: Oskar Becker’s Philosophy of Race and the Ironies of Ahistorical Phenomenology


This paper reconstructs Oskar Becker’s phenomenology of race, a project he called “paraontology.” For Becker, a fervent National Socialist, paraontology provided a phenomenological account of “nature”—a realm of ahistorical essences encompassing both the “super-historical” truths of mathematics and metaphysics and the “sub-historical” forces of “blood and soil.” The impetus for this reconstruction is the re-emergence of this term in contemporary Black studies, where it is used to problematize ontology’s usefulness for thinking black life. This paper asks what the possibility of such an iteration shows about Becker’s project and its investment in non-historical repetition, arguing it reveals a profound disavowal of the historical at the heart of Becker’s project rather than a phenomenological disclosure of the natural.


Guest Editors: Bado Ndoye, Delia Popa, and Jim Vernon

DALITSO RUWE, The Colonial System Unveiled: Towards New Perspectives of Studying Slavery in Africana Philosophy


While essential work in Africana philosophy that illuminates the perils of Western constructs of race and racism has been laid out, scholarship is yet to excavate genealogies of Africana critiques of Western slavery as distinct philosophical themes that can contribute to the understanding of slavery from the vantage of the subjugated. This article is a call for more theorizations of such genealogies.

NORMAN AJARI, Forms of Death: Necropolitics, Mourning, and Black Dignity


To be Black means to have ancestors whose humanity has been denied by slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and segregation, as well as by many theories elaborated in order to justify and intensify these modes of domination. To be Black also means having to face the enduring legacies of these systems and theories, which predominantly manifest through overexposure to violence and death. Today, premature death and habituation to loss remain constitutive features of Black experience. Dignity, often defined as the inherent value of every single human being, has been a core concept in ethics since Kant, at least. But in both philosophy and modern politics, the claim of respect for the dignity of people has coexisted with deep antiblackness. However, apart from the Western understanding of dignity stands another tradition. The concept of dignity is pervasive in Black radicalism, Caribbean philosophy, and African thought since the 18th century. This article draws inspiration from the legacy of these thinkers to elaborate an ethics centred on the specificities of racialized life.

MOHAMED AMER MEZIANE, The Invention of North-Africa: Hegel, Fanon, and the Racialization of Geography


This article sketches an archaeology of the racial divide between North Africa and “Black Africa” by examining how it belongs to the emergence of modern geography during the nineteenth century. It argues that the de-Africanization of North Africa is inseparable from the racial identification of “Africa proper”—to quote Hegel’s word—with a dehumanizing concept of Blackness. The second part of the article tries to move beyond archaeology in order to analyze counter-geographies of decolonization. It does so by focussing on the ways in which the continental Pan-Africanism of the Algerian revolution has deployed a practical criticism of the divide between North and Black Africa through Fanon.

SOULEYMANE BACHIR DIAGNE, Negritude, Universalism, and Socialism


It is important to read afresh today the meaning of the Negritude movement without reducing it, as is often the case, to a counter-essentialism in response to the essentialism of the discourse of colonialism; to realize that Senghor, Césaire, and Damas were first and foremost global philosophers, that is, thinkers of the plural and de-centred world that the Bandung conference of 1955 had promised. Thus, their different perspectives converge as the task of thinking a humanism for our times based on a non-imperial universal, a universal of encounter and translation founded on equality. And, consequently, a socialism that is, in its different translations, a force of emancipation, but also of humanization and spiritualization of the earth. That task is still ours.

VINCENT LLOYD, What Life Is Not: Aimé Césaire as Phenomenologist of Domination


What does “life” mean in the protest slogan “Black Lives Matter”? This article draws on a close reading of Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal to offer an answer to this question. In his poem, Césaire carefully examines the ways racial and colonial domination distort life. He identifies various false accounts of life complicit in domination, and he points toward an alternative. The article compares Césaire’s alternative to accounts of life put forward by Gilles Deleuze and Michel Henry, suggesting that Césaire pushes his critique in a similar direction, but goes further.

THOMAS MCGLONE, JR., “No Less than a Complete Revolution”: On Paulin J. Hountondji’s Negative Pluralism


In this article, I analyze a concept central to the work of the Beninese philosopher Paulin Jidenu Hountondji: pluralism. Hountondji’s pluralism consists of both a theoretical pluralism, which emphasizes the importance of plurality and debate within philosophy and science, and a politico-economic pluralism, which arises in opposition to the dominative tendencies of cultural nationalism and the capitalist world-system. I contend that at the heart of both Hountondji’s theoretical and politico-economic pluralism rests a concept of negative pluralism, a political principle derived from Hountondji’s immanent critique of his own historical conjuncture. I conclude that Hountondji’s negative pluralism offers a distinct and compelling account of plurality as neither innately nor instrumentally ideal. Instead, Hountondji’s negative pluralism allows us to identify, through a critique of existing political structures, forms of political compulsion and economic exploitation which function as obstacles to universal emancipation.