Liberation Philosophy, Anti-Fetishism, and Decolonization

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Rafael Vizcaíno


The trope of fetishization is central to Latin American liberation philosophy and its proposal for an “anti-fetishist” method. In this essay, I offer a genealogy of the trope of fetishization in the work of the Argentine-Mexican philosopher of liberation Enrique Dussel. Engaging recent work in cultural anthropology that demonstrates how the notion of “fetishism” develops out of a one-sided Eurocentric anthropology of religion that misrepresents elements of Afro-Atlantic religions, I argue that without a serious revision of the metaphysical premises of “anti-fetishism,” liberation philosophy risks perpetuating a Eurocentrism that runs counter to the interests of epistemic decolonization to which it is committed. This essay therefore concludes by outlining the prospects of a decolonial “anti-fetishist” method that might overcome the Eurocentric misapprehension of Afro-Atlantic religions.

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How to Cite
Vizcaíno, R. (2023). Liberation Philosophy, Anti-Fetishism, and Decolonization. Journal of World Philosophies, 6(2), 61–75. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Rafael Vizcaíno, DePaul University

Rafael Vizcaíno is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at DePaul University. His work focuses on Latin American and Caribbean philosophy, especially decolonial thought, and on the intersection between religion, politics, and secularization. Winner of the American Philosophical Association’s 2020 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought, Rafael is currently working on a book-length manuscript that interprets the modern dialectics of secularization from the perspective of Latin American and Caribbean thought. His publications appear in the anthology Decolonising the University, the APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy, and the following journals: The Journal of Speculative PhilosophyTRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic WorldPolitical TheologyPhilosophy and Global AffairsThe CLR James Journal, and Radical Philosophy Review. Forthcoming work is scheduled to appear in The CLR James JournalLápiz, and Comparative and Continental Philosophy.