Intercultural Philosophy and the Quest for Epistemic Justice
A Study on Heinz Kimmerle’s Philosophy and Beyond
A focus of intercultural philosophy is to challenge the dominant Eurocentric and Anglo-American paradigm of philosophy, which contributes to epistemic injustice globally. Heinz Kimmerle (1930-2016) was a pioneer by adding an intercultural dimension to philosophy and played a significant role in fostering ‘epistemic justice’.
Kimmerle thoroughly studied Western philosophy. By critically reflecting on his own philosophical tradition a.o. Hegel (1770-1831), he demonstrated problems within the Western philosophical discourse: it excludes different approaches and participants, based on a dominant concept of rationality. Influenced by Schleiermacher (1768-1834), Gadamer (1900-2002), Heidegger (1889-1976) and Derrida (1930-2004) he develops an alternative way of thinking and makes a plea for including African philosophy.
This book is divided in three parts. The first part focusses on Kimmerle’s development of thought, including layers of dialectics, hermeneutics, deconstruction and decolonization. In the confluence of these layers different aspects fostering epistemic justice emerge. The last chapter of this part (4) reveals how epistemic justice could be further enhanced by using an intersectional approach and adding the voices of female philosophers De Staël (1766-1817) and De Beauvoir (1908-1986).
The second part focusses on Kimmerle’s ‘method of dialogue’, which is constitutive for intercultural philosophy. I researched his dialogues with philosophers a.o. Ramose (1950) and with artists. Furthermore, I went beyond his approach by ‘setting the table’ with female philosophers Oluwole (1935-2018) and Nzegwu (1954) and by exploring fluidity of identities in dialogues with performance artists. To conclude, reflecting on three areas of epistemic justice: knower, knowledge and process, I formulate conditions, skills and approaches to language contributing to epistemic justice. I end the book by imagining how the insights can be applied to education and ecology, as areas in which epistemic justice is urgent and suggest an approach of ‘nomadic learning’.