Sunday, July 3, 2022

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Beyond Kantian Misogyny and Racism: Oscillations Between Inner and Outer Space in Comparative Kantian Hermeneutics Part 1

Great thanks Bjorn.


Are you not importing your own attitudes to how you think I should study Kant into your reading of my Kant work?


I place your central questions in bold in what follows:


Why is it so important to attach your ideas with Kant?


I'm puzzled as to why you think I'm attaching my ideas to Kant, like trying to graft something on to something that is foreign to it.


I see my reading of Kant as simply that, a reading of Kant.


I examine his words closely, demonstrating what I understand to be their immediate significance and its broader implications.


I don't import ideas into his work to see how they might fit with Kant's thought, even though such comparative exercises have their value.


I start with Kant as my foundation and expand from that point.


Does my Kant scholarship not read Kant closely, rather than grafting ideas unto his work? Are the extrapolations I make not grounded in what Kant is saying, implications it can clearly be shown to demonstrate, even though Kant would not have had the cognitive elasticity, on account of prejudice, or the cultural breadth, on account of limitations in access to knowledge of various cultures, to enable him make those correlations?


I write about African, Western, Asian and Islamic thought as well as doing significant writing that can't be limited to any of those categories, such as my work on female centred aesthetics.


When developing new approaches to extant systems of thought, such as the Yoruba origin Ifa and Ogboni, the Cross River Nsibidi and the Benin Olokun, the divisions as well as connectivity between the traditional system and my extrapolations are not opaque.


Why is it so important to glorify Kant?

Is Kant's work not worthy of glorification in its cognitive force? I glorify other scholars and creatives. Any particular reason there should be a  focus on my doing the same with Kant?

I'm responding to  the superlative force of a creative achievement, whatever limitations are demonstrated by that force in it's essential nature or in it's less than central expressions.


I celebrate the work of Toyin Falola, Nimi Wariboko, Abiola Irele, Ibn Arabi, Bruce Onobrakpeya, etc.


 Why should my celebration of Kant be singled out as questionable glorification of a particular scholar?


Is Kant's work not worthy of the sublimity in terms of which it may be seen?


If it is, should those populations he discriminated against not also be among those who recognize and celebrate that sublimity?


Why is it so important to defend the racist, antisemitic, misogynist etc. Kant? 

I'm puzzled. I would appreciate being shown aspects of my work that defend those negativities in Kant's work.

There are various sides to Kant. All Kant scholars don't have to address all of them nor address them in the same way or from similar perspectives, for their work to be valid.


Different views also exist as to the relative significance of those various sides, in terms of their weight in the structure of Kant's thought or in the level of insight they demonstrate.


I'm not really interested in Kant's racism or sexism. I'm also not convinced it's central to his thought. I'm yet to see how they impact his metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, the three poles of my current focus on his work.


Those who are so motivated may address those aspects of Kant, while people like myself who are keen on other issues may address what motivates us.


My being one of those populations whom Kant is described as discriminating against does not imply that I need to address that aspect of Kant when others have done or are doing that.


I'm also not particularly interested in addressing the racisms or other forms of superiorism in the various bodies of knowledge I study, Western and non-Western, unless it's necessary to do so in the course of my analysis, since others are addressing those issues.


I'm not defending Kant's racism or sexism, I'm simply not interested in them. I am free to ignore them  because others are already addressing those subjects, and,  as far as I can see, those negativities  do not impact my areas of interest in Kant.


How is saving him relevant for your philosophy?

I am not aware that Kant needs saving in any way. Kant scholarship is a robust and many-sided enterprise recognizing both his strengths and limitations.

That recognition frames his power rather than negates it. It shows him as participating in the imperfections that define humanity, even as ideally human beings move towards narrowing the range of those imperfections.

Kant's place in the canon of great thinkers is assured and possibly timeless, and perhaps not open to erosion by any developments in human thought.

Kant Was a Universalist Thinker [but]  Not a Universalist in the Sense that he Found What Unites all Human Beings

Kant's demonstration of universal value is in precisely what you say he does not do, emphasis mine-

''However, he is not a universalist in the sense that he found what unites all human beings, but in the sense that anyone who can be considered a (relevant) human being has to have. His philosophy prescribes universality instead of describing it. ''


When Kant writes about the power of perceptual  interiority and exteriority , for example, are his ideas relevant to the populations he privileges alone? No.


His not being aware of this universal significance does not invalidate that value of his work. A particular ethnic group in the Amazon, I think, was shown in pictures trying to shoot an arrow at an aircraft. Kant, however, never saw an aircraft.


Various primitivisms, both moral and intellectual, are evident in Western history, till the present time, and same for various people.


But the people in Calabar whose used to kill twins, the Europeans who engaged in recurrent Jewish pogroms, the Indians who practiced wife burnings, all these people , demonstrate Kant's description  of the fundamental coordinates of human consciousness, ''the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me''  and, within this context,  they also dramatize, in their own ways,  the hunger for knowledge of fundamental realities and the cultivation of ultimate values, demonstrated by Kant's works, realities from ideas of the existence of God to questions about the ultimate fate of the human being in the face of death to sensitivity to beauty,  orientations evident in their texts and social and other creative practices.


My Epistemic Mission

We  need to be careful about sliding down the slippery slope from legitimate concerns about sensitivity to the positive and negative range of bodies of knowledge to pigeonholing how non-Western thinkers should approach Western scholarship, particularly in it's controversial aspects.


If I was not an African, I don't expect Gloria, for one, would be so resistant to my Kant scholarship, since she seems to see Kant as an-Black, anti- women bogeyman whom none of those populations should identify with, yet the speaker at the talk you have been advertising is a woman, seems non-Western and is a prominent Kant scholar, though I'm not sure how she'll see my idea that non-Westen Kant scholars do not all need to address his racism or sexism.


I'm interested in a global grasp of human thought and artistic creativity, in it's specificities and interconnections.


I encountered Kant in circumstances that make his work intimate to me. First in my family library's encyclopedias in Benin-City and later in the library of the University of Benin, where my first reading of a Kantian text, the section on the Sublime, from Critique of Judgement, led to a visionary experience in which I seemed to vanish from the library under the impact of those words.


These intimate contacts, first in the comfort of domesticity, in the library that initiated me into scholarship in a loving manner, as well as through entry into horizons of mental experience marking my encounters with cognitive forms from various cultures, brings Kant for me into the interiority represented by my most powerful encounters with various forms of being, from sacred forest to works of art, even the erotic  at it's most intense, since powerful cognitive encounters may also  demonstrate an erotic flavour, as the intensity of the erotic may resonate with the palpitating force of intellectual and imaginative creativity.


Great thanks




On Fri, Jul 1, 2022, 21:22 <> wrote:

Dear Colleagues,


Please excuse me, that I am joining the discussion so late. I have read through to some of your messages, but please forgive me should I repeat something which has already been said or should I have missed that the discussion has long moved on!


Dear Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju, you wrote: "The ironic truth is that Kant is one of the world's greatest universalist thinkers. As I explained to Freter, what I'm trying to point out is the significance of Kant's insights beyond the limitations of Kant's personal cultural horizons. Beyond the ridiculousness of those views on Black people,  women and perhaps other demographics, his explorations strike to the heart of the meaning of what it is to be human."


I do not think, it is ironic that Kant was a universalist thinker. In fact, I would argue, that he is indeed a universalist. However, he is not a universalist in the sense that he found what unites all human beings, but in the sense that anyone who can be considered a (relevant) human being has to have. His philosophy prescribes universality instead of describing it. 


Again, there is, esteemed Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju, an artistic beauty in your Kant lecture. And it would be quite anti-philosophical to deny that. However, your philosophical ideas are in very loose accordance with Kant. The questions for me are:

Why it is so important to attach your ideas with Kant?

Why is it so important to glorify Kant?

Why is it so important to defend the racist, antisemitic, misogynist etc. Kant? How is saving him relevant for your philosophy?


The "West", wrote Richard Wright, "has never really been honest with itself about how it overcame its own traditions and blinding customs." We need to find this out. If we ignore this task, we are working towards the continued existence of the violence of superiorism. We need to ask us: Have we taken, for instance, the elitism in Kant (or Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Hegel, Nietzsche etc.) seriously? And most importantly:


Have we made sure that when we adopt ideas from their philosophies we are not – involuntarily – continuing to philosophize in an elitist, superiorist way?


It is about 150 to 200 years ago, that the modern Western idea of human rights was brought to intellectual reality. However, the reality of the idea of human rights is still awaiting its practical realization. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that (Western) philosophers are constantly being excused for their superiorist ideas?


One of the most prominent excuses, which I read here in this exchange as well, is that Kant needs to be excused because it would be unfair or anachronistic to ask him to adhere to modern standards?


First of all: The philosopher who was able to revolutionize a nearly 2000 years of epistemology could not be asked to not be contemptuous towards those who are not like him? Is this really too much for a philosopher of this caliber?


And, secondly, and more importantly: It is simply not anachronistic to ask this of Kant. Theodor von Hippel was one of the regular guests in his house. Perhaps the most important German advocate of the rights of female human beings! And what about the abolitionist movements? Just think of what the Quaker David Cooper wrote in 1783 about the Declaration of Independence in his "Serious Address to the Rulers of America, on the Inconsistency of Their Conduct Respecting Slavery":


"IF these solemn truths, uttered at such an awful crisis, are self-evident: unless we can shew that the African race are not men, words can hardly express the amazement which naturally arises on reflecting, that the very people who make these pompous declarations are slave-holders, and, by their legislative, tell us, that these blessings were only meant to be the rights of white men, not of all men."


Jefferson owned a copy of this text! It WAS possible to think in a non-white supremacist, non-misogynist way!


We need to stop excusing the Western canon. And, we need to stop condemning it in a non-productive way. There might lots to find! But we need to find out if it is possible, and if so, how to do this first!


It might be possible, to avoid the superiorism of our past, but, perhaps, it might not be possible.


Perhaps one of the reasons why racism, sexism, speciesism and so many forms of superiorism are still so widespread, because we are fighting them while we – unbeknownst to ourselves – defending them by continuing our superiorist past?

But there is more we need to be aware of: We need to understand that, again and again, we decided to become violent, be it physically, psychologically, or epistemologically. We need to understand, that we decided to do so, because we wanted to do so. This is, no doubt, a tragedy, but we are not necessitated to want this, we are not necessitated to do this.




Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to
To subscribe to this group, send an email to
Current archives at
Early archives at
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit

Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to
To subscribe to this group, send an email to
Current archives at
Early archives at
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit

No comments:

Post a Comment

Vida de bombeiro Recipes Informatica Humor Jokes Mensagens Curiosity Saude Video Games Car Blog Animals Diario das Mensagens Eletronica Rei Jesus News Noticias da TV Artesanato Esportes Noticias Atuais Games Pets Career Religion Recreation Business Education Autos Academics Style Television Programming Motosport Humor News The Games Home Downs World News Internet Car Design Entertaimment Celebrities 1001 Games Doctor Pets Net Downs World Enter Jesus Variedade Mensagensr Android Rub Letras Dialogue cosmetics Genexus Car net Só Humor Curiosity Gifs Medical Female American Health Madeira Designer PPS Divertidas Estate Travel Estate Writing Computer Matilde Ocultos Matilde futebolcomnoticias girassol lettheworldturn topdigitalnet Bem amado enjohnny produceideas foodasticos cronicasdoimaginario downloadsdegraca compactandoletras newcuriosidades blogdoarmario arrozinhoii sonasol halfbakedtaters make-it-plain amatha