Closing Plenary: Postcolonial Worlds 2


‘Caring about the Universal?’
Souleymane Bachir Daigne (Philosophy, Columbia University)

Emmanuel Levinas has written that the postcolonial world (he actually said “decolonized”) is “de-westernized” but also (therefore?)  “dis-oriented”. By that he meant that innumerable cultures considered equivalent in a postcolonial global world cannot truly meet without some sense of the universal. The questions I will pose concern precisely the possibility and the need for what Merleau-Ponty has called a “lateral universal’.”

‘Freedom in Spinoza’
Marilena Chaui (Philosophy, University of Sao Paulo)

In the history of philosophy, the radical thought of Spinoza has become one of the most controversial and criticized. Amongst the controversies, one of the most persistent is the so-called ‘the problem of Spinozism’: the apparent impossibility of human freedom in his philosophy, since Spinoza asserts that reality and human beings are ordained and regulated by absolute necessity and he refuses the idea of the free will. We will show that ‘the problem of Spinozism’ is the result of reading Spinoza’s philosophy through the images that are crystalized in the philosophical tradition and that Spinoza’s idea of human freedom is the opening of a new path in order to understand desire, passion and action both in ethics and politics.