The Descent of Thought and a Beginning of World Philosophies

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Alejandro A. Vallega


This essay invites the reader to engage in a path towards understanding philosophy in terms of “world philosophies” rather than mapping out thought to the already operative westernizing conceptions of what “philosophy” is. The question of “world philosophies” is taken up through the way that Latin American thought is situated inbetween lineages and traditions. The essay focuses on the transformative encounter between Heidegger’s thought during the period of Being and Time (1927) and the Argentine thinker Rodolfo Kusch. In contrast to Heidegger, Kusch finds a distinct path of thinking grounded in Latin American Indigenous thought, a thinking that remains to date in the pre-reflexive living of the popular classes in Latin America (workers, campesinos, people peripheral to the culture of the major coastal cities). Ultimately, the task of world philosophies arises from the concrete situation of the thought being developed, an attentiveness required that is found in aesthetic sensibilities rather than in reflexive rational thought alone or rationalist pragmatic subjectivism.

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How to Cite
Vallega, A. A. (2020). The Descent of Thought and a Beginning of World Philosophies. Journal of World Philosophies, 5(1), 61–75. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Alejandro A. Vallega, University of Oregon

Alejandro A. Vallega is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon, U.S.A. He is editor for Latin America of the World Philosophies Series, published by Indiana University Press. He has served as President of the North America Society for Philosophical Hermeneutics, and he is USA coordinator of the Sociedad de Filosofía y Liberación. He has twice co-directed the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Cittá di Castello, Italy, and is part of the Board of Directors. He is permanent faculty member of the Decolonizing Knowledge and Power School in Barcelona, faculty of the Diplomatura en Filosofía de la Liberación at the University of Jujuy, Argentina, and he also teaches in the graduate decolonial psychology program at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, California. Some of his publications are: Heidegger and the Question of Space: Thinking on Exilic Grounds (Penn State Press, 1999); Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limit of Language, Art, and the Political (SUNY Press, 2009-2010); and Latin American Philosophy from Identity to Radical Exteriority (Indiana University Press, 2014). He is also the editor of the English edition of Enrique Dussel’s Ethics of Liberation (Duke University Press, 2013), and coeditor (with Ramón Grosfoguel) of Anti-Cartesian Meditations and Transmodernity (The Hague: AMRIT Publishers, June 2018).