Please take a moment to check out two amazing pieces from members of our UConn community on the Blog of the APA: an essay written by visiting scholar Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba, and a piece by UConn Philosophy alumnus Thomas Meagher. Congratulations!
"Reports from Abroad: Dr. Mouhamadou El Hady Ba"
African endogenous systems of knowledge—embedded inside a metaphysical explanation of life and the universe—were transmitted via secret societies and myths. I argue that our abandonment of that metaphysical framework used to produce and justify knowledge shouldn’t compel us to deem that knowledge irrational. Conversely, re-discovering this endogenous knowledge does not require us to uncritically accept its metaphysical or even epistemological underpinning. I am increasingly convinced that an epistemological study of local knowledge could uncover useful discoveries. For example, there is a wealth of knowledge being lost about the use of local plants like neem (azadirachta indica), niprisan, or aloe ferox to cure or prevent health conditions as serious as cancer or sickle cell disease. An epistemological study of endogenous knowledge could kickstart a movement that would greatly enrich scientific domains like pharmacology or ecology. Trying to make sense of local knowledge in discussions with colleagues who, on ideological bases, promoted all things African helped me see that, if we keep the right distance, we can bring these traditions and their contents into conversation with the scientific realm with a continued critical eye. I think I would never have become open to endogenous systems of knowledge if I hadn’t returned to Senegal where I have been able to participate in local epistemological and philosophical discussions.
"Sylvia Wynter and the Concept of the Homocene" by Dr. Thomas Meagher
How do these categories of Anthropocene and Capitalocene relate to our initial categories of causal and existential responsibility? In implicating human agency as a causal factor in the destruction of the planet, each seems to evoke existential responsibility. Yet as plain statements of fact, these conceptions begin with the matter of causal responsibility. The Anthropocene is defined by human agency as cause of climatic transformation. The Capitalocene is put forth as an alternative naming of a particular human orientation, toward the functional rule of the owners of wealth that produces wealth, as the predominant cause of such transformation. It is only if one takes these terms as implicating oneself that they entail existential responsibility.