In this book, philosopher and social critic Lewis Gordon explores the ossification of disciplines, which he calls disciplinary decadence. In response, he offers a theory of what he calls a teleological suspension of disciplinarity, in which he encourages scholars and lay intellectuals to pay attention to the openness of ideas and purposes on which their disciplines were born. Gordon builds his case through discussions of philosophy of education, problems of secularization in religious thought, obligations across generations, notions of invention in the study of ideas, decadence in development, colonial epistemologies, and the quest for a genuine postcolonial language. These topics are examined with the underlying diagnosis of the present political and academic environment as one in which it is indecent to think.
“‘Philosophy, heal thyself!’ is the uncompromising prescription of Lewis Gordon's provocative new book. He throws down a bold challenge to the profession to revitalize itself by ending its Eurocentrism (especially its anti-Africanism), building networks to reach out to and learn from non-traditional constituencies, and above all recognizing that even on earth there are more things than are dreamt of in its philosophy.”—Charles W. Mills, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago
“This book will leave no doubt in your mind as to the power and capabilities of Africana philosophy. Moving critically and constructively through problems of decadence and renewal in fields such as the philosophy of education, religion, ethics, African and Afro-Caribbean philosophy, Disciplinary Decadence is Africana philosophy in intellectual motion.”—Paget Henry, Professor of Africana Studies & Sociology, Brown University
Introduction: Disciplinary Decadence 1. Decadent Knowing and Learning 2. God beneath 3. Obligations across Generations 4. Inventing Africa 5. Decadent Development 6. Prospero's Words, Caliban's Reason