Postcolonial thinking and modes of being-with others

Woermann, Minka (2022)

CITATION: Woermann, M. 2020. Postcolonial thinking and modes of being-with others. Etica & Politica, XXII, 3:833-848.

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This paper seeks to interrogate the mode of relationality – or Being-with Others – that supports a responsible postcolonial thinking. The paper draws from both the Western and African philosophical traditions. Three modes of Being-with Others are identified at the hand of Martin Heidegger’s and Jean-Luc Nancy’s work, namely the exterior mode, in which we simply exist alongside one another; the interior mode, wherein our identities are assimilated by a historicallyconstituted community; and, the non-essentialised mode, wherein our identities are open to Others. The paper critically explores African Humanism and African Communitarian in order to demonstrate how – in practice – these views often lend support to the exterior mode and the interior mode respectively. As an alternative to these views, a reading of African philosophy that foregrounds the Political as first philosophy is given. It is demonstrated how this reading not only demands a non-essentialised mode of Being-with Others (which will be motivated as the preferred relational mode), but also leads to a view of postcoloniality that is premised on the inherent openness of being and community.

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